Story by Chris Graham
Agencies that had shied away from applying for funding allocations from the United Way of Greater Augusta because of the charitable organization’s fund-raising blackouts got some good news last month.
The local United Way has done away with the restrictions on raising money during the United Way campaign season for the coming campaign year.
“We realize that it’s in our best interests, but more importantly it’s in the interests of our community and the people that we serve, that our agencies are financially stable and viable and healthy, and in order to be able to do that, they need to be able to raise funds throughout the year,” executive director Sandra Stanwitz said in an interview on “The Augusta Free Press Show” last week.
A number of service agencies had pulled out of the United Way in recent years because they felt that the fund-raising blackouts interfered with their other capital-focused efforts.
“We’re proud to tell the community that we no longer have that policy – and anyone who had been a part of the United Way for many years and dropped out because of that is now welcome to reapply,” Stanwitz said.
Agencies interested in seeking funding from the United Way of Greater Augusta in 2008 have a Jan. 18 deadline for getting applications for funding in to the local United Way office.
The UWGA funded 19 human-service agencies for the 2007 calendar year – with the services offered running the gamut.
“We have agencies that cover small children – we have two child-care agencies. We have agencies that take care of elderly and take care of people who are physically and mentally handicapped,” Stanwitz said.
“We have Big Brothers Big Sisters as one of our agencies – and that’s a mentoring group that provides services to children in the community that need to have someone to mentor them and spend time with them. Blue Ridge Legal Services is one of our big agencies – and they provide legal counseling on just about the whole gamut of any kind of legal issue that a person might have, and it’s provided based on reduced fees because the United Way helps pay for that. We also have a lot of programs for teen-agers – we help fund programs at the Office on Youth that covers all three of our service areas, we help fund the Staunton-Augusta YMCA summer camp and teen center.
“So we do – you’re right – we have a great variety of agencies that pretty much cover about any need that a person would have and at any age point in their life,” Stanwitz said.
Organizations applying must provide health and human services to the citizens of Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro.
In addition, organizations applying must be registered as a not-for-profit with the state of Virginia and registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 organization.
Additional requirements apply. Certain government or public-school programs may qualify.
Applications are available at the United Way office at 24 Idlewood Blvd., Suite 102, Staunton, Va. (behind the 7-Eleven on U.S. 250).
The United Way office is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call 540.943.1215 or 540.885.1229.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.