City leaders say it was a good news/good news scenario during the annual meeting of the United Way of Douglas County on Wednesday evening at Central Junior High School, 1400 Mass.
United Way co-chairs Jane and Scot Buxton announced the final campaign total for 2009 of $1.76 million, which is 98 percent of its goal. Adding to the excitement of the accomplishment, this year United Way handed out a record amount to partnering agencies — nearly $1.3 million.
However, partner agencies will be a thing of the past beginning in 2012. Tom Christie, chair-elect of the United Way board of directors, announced a big change in the way United Way will distribute money.
Under the new funding mechanism, any of the more than 300 nonprofit agencies in the county can receive assistance if they identify and match some of those funding goals in the broad areas of education, health and self-sufficiency.
“We will work with the community to identify major issues in Douglas County and then work with the agencies to help them help us address the issues … so that instead of dealing with those agencies, we can deal with the issues of the community at large,” Christie said.
During 2011, United Way will solicit opinion from the community through surveys and focus groups, identifying some community-funding goals.
“We think it will make us better stewards of their money and with limited resources, I think if we can attack some of those specific problems that our community has and get agencies to work together in collaboration and partnership … we think that maybe we can better deal with those issues,” Christie said.
Coming off a record year, United Way of Douglas County hopes to continue its success with helping those less fortunate under the new structure.