United Way's Impact Committee is composed of volunteers who live in the Fraser Valley. They see the issues facing residents from Aldergrove to Boston Bar while they are at work and living their day to day lives. They are not professionals with expertise in poverty reduction, affordable housing or early childhood education. They represent donors and the residents of the various communities in the Fraser Valley.
The Impact Committee is responsible for two separate funding streams (to apply for a grant please visit our Grant Applications page):
Community Partner Grants
Building Strong Communities
The Impact Committee determines which agencies will receive annual core funding and the funding levels. This type of funding is unique; the use of United Way dollars is very flexible. Smaller agencies often need the funds to open the doors of their agency. Even though the amount of the grant may be relatively small, it often is a significant portion of the agency's budget. Larger agencies often find that the funds they receive from other sources are very restrictive in how the funds are used or the type of clients that can be helped. United Way funds allow the flexibility to try innovative services or to expand the existing services they offer.
The committee reviews all Community Partners every three years to determine that they are operating effectively and efficiently. The committee also ensures that there is a broad cross-section of services available in every community. The services offered by Community Partners vary in every community because each community is different and has unique needs.
Helping Kids Be All They Can Be & Moving People From Poverty to Possibility
United Way's priorities are determined through extensive community input. They are the priorities that residents have determined to be the most important. The current priorities are poverty reduction, affordable housing and homelessness and ensuring children 0 - 6 succeed. Each year United Way invites organizations providing services in the Fraser Valley to submit proposals that are preventative in nature and address one of the identified priorities. By funding preventative programs, United Way is reducing future long-term, often expensive interventions.
The Impact Committee determines which programs and funding levels best serve each of the Fraser Valley communities. Funding is distributed equitably across the valley based on population. This year many of the housing projects were youth focused, including programs at Autumn House, Cyrus Centre, Beat the Streets and the Health Contact Centre in Chilliwack. Community gardens and community kitchens were the primary types of poverty reduction programs funded this year. If low income families have the skills to cook nutritious, low cost meals, their precious dollars are available for improved housing or a better quality of life. They may not suffer that common syndrome where dollars run out before the month ends.