On Tuesday, Executive Director Lacey Hanson announced the addition of the Warren County Children’s Advocacy Center and the Women’s Care Center of Warren to the ranks of the member agencies.
They are the first new agencies in years to add to the United Fund roster. Executive Director Lacey Hanson said it has been close to 10 years since the last new member — Warren Area Student Union — was accepted.
“The fact that we added two new ones this year is pretty significant in the United Fund world,” Hanson said.
“It’s huge for us,” Women’s Care Center Warren Office Director Mary Brown said. “We are a community supported agency that provides support services for women, not only pregnant women. Maybe it’s for material items, maybe for life-coaching, or classes to be better parents.”
Funding from the United Fund will help the center grow.
“We would love to be able to expand our hours, get an ultrasound tech on more than once a month,” she said.
She would also like to be able to expand the center’s educational programming that goes into Warren County School District.
“This is huge,” CAC Executive Director Melissa McLean said.
Being part of the United Fund will help steady her entity.
“When you’re a small non-profit, it’s really hard to stabilize things like personnel,” McLean said. “Personnel, bricks and mortars, those are the foundational pieces… the hardest pieces to ensure. Those are the pieces that you need to create that longevity. This is a huge relief.”
She expects the CAC to be able to move more into prevention activities with the membership.
Being a member isn’t strictly a financial boon.
“Being part of the United Fund brings with it a certain level of… excellence,” McLean said. “It says to the community, it says to funders… you’ve been vetted.”
That eminence that United Fund membership brings to organizations is enough for some.
Some member agencies “do not request more money every year,” Hanson said. “They want the membership. Having that status definitely helps them. The money doesn’t mean that much to them.”
The board approved an increase of $10,000 to the Torchlight Campaign goal this year, bringing the target amount to $700,000.
“With the messaging that came in from the member agencies, they said, $5,000 is not going to be enough,” Hanson said.
NEW MEMBER PROCESS
“The United Fund has a process for accepting new applicants,” Hanson said. “Once we started posting more on social media and doing more marketing, we started getting an influx of new applicants.”
The board has gone from evaluating applicants every meeting to doing so once every two years.
It’s not as simple as looking at a non-profit applicant and seeing that it is making a difference in health, welfare, or character development.
The board doesn’t want to take away from what it is currently offering its members. And, it doesn’t want to set up two agencies that are serving the same populations in the same way.
The CAC and the WCC do not step on any toes of existing members. And, there was a roster spot available.
“When COVID happened, the dental clinic closed,” Hanson said. “They were getting a portion of the funds from the Torchlight Campaign.”
That means the United Fund could direct funding to the two new agencies without biting into what other members were receiving.
The board will consider new applicants in 2024 – though agencies are welcome to apply any time.