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ASHEVILLE — United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County remains committed to its focus on creating long-lasting change in the areas of education, income and health, areas agency leaders say are the building blocks of a good life for everyone.

On Wednesday, May 22, the organization’s board of directors approved its 2013-2014 Investment Strategy, the result of a competitive grant process in which more than $2.45 million will be invested in 79 high-quality programs that align with the community-level results outlined in United Way’s education, income and health strategies.

United Way Board Chair Suzanne DeFerie said the more than 60 focus area volunteers — local experts in the areas of education, income and health who make funding recommendations to the board after reviewing nonprofit applications over a period of several months — had a very challenging task again this year.

As in prior years, United Way received $1 million more in requests than was available in the organization’s Community Investment Fund. Thus, programs with the strongest alignment with United Way’s education, income or health community-level results will receive funding.

“The investment process undertaken by our volunteers this spring and approved by our board Wednesday is an excellent example of the power of collective giving by thousands of people in our community through our annual campaign as well as the power of collective action on the part of our 36 community partners who make Asheville and Buncombe County a better place each day, not only for their clients, but for all of us,” DeFerie said.

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Of United Way’s 2013-2014 investment of $2.45 million in education, income and health, the organization will invest:

  • $764,010 in 20 programs in education;
  • $761,875 in 24 programs in income; and
  • $931,146 in 35 programs in health.

Four of the 79 programs in United Way’s 2013-2014 Investment Strategy will receive funding for the first time. These new investments in community partners this year include:

  • $7,000 for early grade literacy tutoring to Read through Succeed Asheville’s School-Based Coaches;
  • $35,000 to train low-income individuals for culinary-arts jobs through Green Opportunities’ GO Kitchen Ready;
  • $23,800 in services to provide psychotherapy and psychiatric services to children through CARING for Children’s ACE Program; and
  • $27,200 to provide substance abuse and mental health treatment through Homeward Bound’s Project Rebound.
As a result of the 2013-2014 Investment Strategy, United Way expects to see:

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  • 342 children attend high-quality, affordable early-care education programs;
  • 2,329 youth strengthen their social and basic life skills;
  • 388 parents, caregivers and community members increase their support of children’s academic success;
  • 458 children increase their basic academic skills;
  • 90 students with disabilities or special needs have diverse educational options;
  • 2,678 people in crisis or with ongoing needs access basic needs assistance.
  • 538 people increase their vocational, language and literacy skills, and 3,650 workers earn a living wage,
  • 2,898 people increase capacity and skills to build financial stability,
  • 5,679 households have increased options for affordable, safe housing
  • 13,786 people increase their power to prevent and recover from violence and abuse,
  • 10,763 people know of and access wellness, prevention and early detection,
  • 9,431 seniors and people with disabilities remain independent and healthy,
  • 3,500 people increase use of primary, behavioral and dental health care, and much more.

In addition to providing financial support to community partners with program results aligned with our community-level results in education, income and health, the board also approved continued support of United Way’s 2-1-1 ($115,000), Hands On Asheville-Buncombe ($80,000) and its Middle School Success initiative ($57,322).

“The return on United Way’s 2011-2012 investment exceeded expectations,” DeFerie said. “Instead of the 59,000 people we expected to see reach their goals, more than 71,000 people successfully improved their conditions in education, income and health. The board of directors applauds the high-quality work of our staff, volunteers and partners and looks forward to what we can accomplish together in 2013.”

Find out more about United Way’s focus on education, income and health at www.unitedwayabc.org.

-Press release from the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, shared May 24.

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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