The board of directors for the United Way of Greater Stark County on Wednesday approved $4.6 million worth of allocations to 41 agencies.
As the children’s song “Three Blind Mice” played, teacher Marie Bukowy clapped to the beat as 21-month-old Kyra Jenrett and other happy toddlers danced and spun in circles.
At the end of the hall, children ages 2 and 3 learned how to use scissors by cutting into Play-Doh.
Not all of the children would be there if their parents hadn’t receive some financial help, said Rowena Litman, director of the North Canton YMCA’s Infant and Toddler Center.
Roughly 40 percent of the 51 children enrolled — including many from outside North Canton — receive help through either Job and Family Services or YMCA’s scholarship program, which covers a portion of the child’s tuition based on the parent’s income.
Litman sees the demand for the center, which opened in 2007, and for financial help growing as more families have two working parents.
“A lot more families are in a bind,” she said. “Job and Family Services has changed its guidelines (and) it no longer serves as many families ... . We’re now getting those calls.”
On Wednesday, Litman learned that the center will receive $11,250 this year from the United Way of Greater Stark County to help offset tuition costs for additional families.
The center is one of 41 agencies that will share the $4.6 million that United Way will distribute during the first year of its two-year funding cycle. Funding for the second year depends on the program’s performance over the next several months.
United Way officials expect to raise $7.1 million when the agency’s fundraising campaign officially ends Sunday. Besides the $4.6 million disbursed to community agencies, the agency will allocate:
• $823,162 to its 2-1-1 Information & Referral hot line and volunteer center.
• $427,324 to 150 non-United Way agencies and 39 United Way agencies located outside of Stark County as designated by the donor.
• $192,387 toward initiatives where United Way matched donor contributions. Initiatives include iC.A.R.E’s CARE Team program, which provides year-round resources in Stark County schools that address challenges facing at-risk students and their families.
• $529,407 for the agency’s administrative costs and $596,387 for its fundraising expenses.
Sarah Hayden, spokeswoman for the United Way, said the agency has $71,385 of the $4.6 million set aside for programs that hasn’t been allocated yet. She said volunteers continue to gather information on how to most effectively provide services such as family counseling and guardianship.
Robert Fernandez, chairman of United Way’s impact councils that evaluated the applications, said roughly 100 volunteers assessed each application submitted on how closely the program’s expected results aligned with United Way’s three core values: Education, family and financial stability and health and basic needs.
“We really truly are funding need areas,” said Fernandez, a special projects director for the Stark County Family Court. “The way you make changes in those need areas is through well-designed programs. ... We fund those programs because we are focusing on the change in the community.”
Page 2 of 2 - Roughly 37 percent of the money allocated to programs benefited educational initiatives, 36 percent went toward health and basic needs and 27 percent funded family and financial stability programs, figures show.
Of the more than 100 program funded this year, nearly all of them are familiar faces. More than 60 percent of them received the same level of funding as the previous two-year allocation cycle.
The only agency eliminated from the list was Trillium Family Solutions, which recently sought bankrupty protection. Roughly a dozen of the programs are new, including the North Canton YMCA Infant and Toddler Center.
Also receiving funding for the first time is the Crisis Intervention and Recovery Center’s Hunter House program, which will receive $96,000 to provide mental-health and counseling services for tenants of the new 48-unit complex on Gonder Avenue SE in Canton. The program is a collaboration with the Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority and Ruthe & Isadore Freed Housing Corp. and targets residents who are homeless and have mental illness or substance-abuse issues.
Reach Kelli at 330-580-8339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @kyoungREP
For a list of the programs funded, visit www.uwstark.org/community-partners or tinyurl.com/c9dmtcm