Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett have encouraged more than 120 other billionaires to take The Giving Pledge – a commitment to donate a majority of their wealth to philanthropy. And just last week, Bill Gates asked his 16 million Twitter followers how they would designate a $50,000 donation. The wealthiest people in the world make philanthropy look simple.
Anyone who has ever served as a United Way allocation volunteer knows the tough decisions inherent with making philanthropic investments … it’s not as easy as it looks. You must consider the major impact it can have on your community. You reflect on the fact your designation has power to substantially change lives. You have limited resources and are concerned about current good programming not receiving funding. You continually contemplate ways to measure philanthropic success. And you ponder how much overhead is necessary these days.
In the past six months, United Way’s Community Impact volunteers spent 1,082 hours reviewing 327 proposals from 167 agencies to make funding decisions with the intent of creating the most impactful investments, getting a long-lasting ROI and solving some of our community’s most pressing problems. And we still wonder if we got it right.
Today, our Board of Directors approved approximately $10 million in new education, income and health program investments to reach our goals. The new investments are directly aligned with the priorities and strategies in our Community Impact Agenda. In education, we are preparing kids to enter school ready to learn and graduate from high school. Our work in income covers basic food and housing needs and also advances individuals and families to financial empowerment. And in health, we are striving to build a healthy and resilient community.
With all due respect to the Gates family and Buffett, making funding decisions is not as easy as they make it look. Fortunately, our United Way volunteers do a great job investing in programs and initiatives to solve our community’s problems. THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!
And if you would like to join them in this incredibly rewarding work, please let us know. We are always looking for a few more philanthropists!