Lincoln Residents Give Generously to United Way

July 13, 2010  //  United Way

Lincoln/Lancaster County residents dug deep and gave generously
to the United Way last season.

In all, the 2009 campaign raised $5.8 million — allowing it to fund 10 new programs and three new agencies for a total of 62 programs and 42 agencies.

“It was our best year ever,” said Bill Schmeeckle, 2010 president of the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County’s board of directors.

While $3.7 million of the money was designated for certain programs by the donors, another $2.1 million was undesignated, allowing the United Way’s Community Impact Committee to select which programs would receive a share.

Two years ago, United Way changed its format and focus for distributing funds. It leveled the funding field — meaning everyone started at zero, regardless of how many years the agency/program had received United Way funding in the past. And, the agency narrowed its focus to services for children and families, with documentation of success.

Of the money received, 67 percent goes to programs geared toward helping children up to age 18 succeed in school. The remaining 33 percent of undesignated funding is given to programs assisting people in crisis — families, children and individuals.

“We feel we can make a difference by focusing on these two areas,” said Mary Jo Hill, who serves on the United Way’s Community Impact Committee which sets priorities in fund distribution.

Recipients of the 2009 funding receive their money July 1.

New agencies receiving funding are Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln, Lincoln Literacy Council for its English Language and Literacy program for young children of non-English speaking parents; and TeamMates mentoring program.

Among the new programs to receive United Way funds are: an ARC sibling workshop, parent support services through Cedars, a domestic violence program through El Centro, Early Head Start, two programs at the Indian Center, Academy of Rock, Head Start and an academic/substance abuse program of adolescent girls at St. Monica’s.

Agencies and programs receiving funding were categorized by the ages of the children served and the types of programs, with the focus on school success.

With the funding, the United Way will help provide 1,115 preschoolers with school readiness skills, 1,058 grade school and middle school students will have mentors, 2,120 children will receive mental health support, 31,000 will receive food assistance and 600 children will receive help for abuse, Hill said.

The 2010 funding breakdown:

  • Early childhood programs, $410,500
  • Grade school-age programs, $503,000
  • Middle school-age programs, $265,000
  • High school-age programs, $146,000
  • Food assistance, $111,000
  • Emergency shelter, $156,500
  • Victim safety, $111,000.
  • United Way initiatives, $135,656. These include paying for background checks, subsidizing summer food programs, collecting data on food distribution programs, Community Learning Centers and the 211 information service for Lincoln and Lancaster County.

Reach Erin Andersen at 402-473-7217 or eandersen@journalstar.com.