Missouri United Way changes funding strategy

The Heart of Missouri United Way voted last week to adopt a new strategy that will focus future funding on programs that address poverty and other issues with at-risk children.

By Harum Helmy (Columbia, Mo.)

United Way’s new ‘Community Impact’ strategy is getting some backlash from member organizations that assist older adults. These organizations are likely to face funding cuts in the near future, as United Way focuses its funding to programs that address poverty and youth issues.  Director Tim Rich says the decision came after two years of deliberating with the mid-Missouri community about its most pressing needs. To illustrate one of these needs – Rich says 43 percent of all Columbia Public School children live in poverty. 

“That’s a critical issue that has to be addressed – because what happens, is when people are living in poverty, they’re more apt to not achieve well in school, and therefore not graduate, or not have the skills that employees need, and very often end up repeating a cycle of poverty…” 

The new strategy will be in effect come 2013. Rich says United Way will continue to help member agencies that face cuts figure out funding options. These agencies include Meals on Wheels, mid-Missouri’s Alzheimer’s Association, the Boone County Council on Aging, and the MU Adult Day Connection program.