By Holly Glen Gearhart
The United Way has come through for underfunded Sky Valley organizations in a big way. The agency in June announced that the valley will benefit from a $311,000 investment in community services over the next three years.
“These investments are the result of a rigorous, 12-month, volunteer-driven process addressing immediate community needs through programs that have a proven track record of achieving desired outcomes,” said Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way.
The needs of the community were reviewed by volunteers who serve on United Way’s Kids Matter, Families Matter and Community Matters Vision Councils. Having spent more than 2,500 hours over the past year reviewing community conditions, they established priority investment areas and evaluated grant applications.
Karen Madsen, former member of the Everett School Board, was one of the volunteers.
“This was the first time I’d participated in the grants review process,” she said. “I saw firsthand how much time and effort goes into these decisions. Every program, whether or not they were funded last year, was reviewed very closely.”
Karen and 52 other volunteers who reviewed proposals work for a range of Snohomish County-based companies and were picked to represent a broad cross-section of the Sky Valley community.
A few of the grants include:
East County Senior Center will receive $90,000 for their Comprehensive Senior Development Program and Monroe Senior Transportation Program.
Volunteers of America Western Washington was granted $206,000 for social connection and other service programs to seniors living in Sultan and east along U.S. Highway 2. The goals of the VOA include providing a comprehensive set of services for infants, seniors, people with disabilities and youth east of Monroe.
The YMCA of Snohomish County’s Jump Start Program, which helps children and families in Monroe, will receive $15,000.
In all, 107 programs will benefit people in 23 communities throughout Snohomish County, including Stanwood and Darrington in the north, and Sultan and Gold Bar to the east.
Careful consideration was given to vulnerable populations and programs, addressing service gaps in the community.
The priorities of the United Way included programs that focused on early learning; after-school programs; foster care; family skill building and support; affordable housing; emergency services; health gaps for the uninsured and under-insured; career education; job and life skills training; creating an aging-friendly community; improving access to services and connections to community based centers; reducing isolation due to disability, transportation or language; and reducing crime and offering support to victims of crime.
To find out more about the funding and to see the complete list of programs funded, visit the United Way’s website at uwsc.org.