Through their hard work, volunteers play an integral role in United Way of Racine County’s volunteer investment process.

According to Community Investment Director MaryBeth Kallio, volunteers contribute greatly to the time-intensive volunteer investment process and help give United Way the chance to evaluate funded programs over a longer period of time.

“We can better watch how a particular program that we funded plays out in real time,” Kallio said. “We can see how it completes what it said it would in the organization’s RFP (request for proposal). That is crucial information because it allows us to be even more results driven with our funding process.”

And volunteers are at the heart of this extended process. Collectively, 60 volunteers committed over 500 hours to this new process during the 2019-20 funding cycle.

Starting in 2019, United Way of Racine County transitioned to a two-year funding cycle, replacing the yearly funding cycle that had previously been in place.

Volunteers can effectively participate in two ways. They can be on volunteer advisory teams, which oversee funded programs in the areas of health, education, financial stability, essential services, the community school model known as LIFT (Link and Inspire for Tomorrow), and the community investment financial team. They can also serve on the community investment committee, which oversees the volunteer advisory teams and the community investment financial team.

During the first year of the funding cycle, the volunteer advisory teams meet to review RFPs and make recommendations on funding. During the second year, the teams review monthly reports from the funded agencies and determine whether or not they are accomplishing the goals they were intended to complete.

Based on their findings, the teams then make funding recommendations to the community investment committee and United Way of Racine County staff and board.

“We are lucky to be supported by so many wonderful volunteers who are willing to give us so much of their time,” President and CEO of United Way of Racine County Ali Haigh said about the lengthy process. “United Way exists only through the support of our community. We are thankful and proud to have more than 1,000 volunteers who give back to our organization every year. Those who oversee our investment process are among the most committed and passionate individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”

Haigh added that during 2020, the second year of the funding cycle, United Way of Racine County was able to fund 26 unique agencies and 40 programs to support local Racine County residents.

More volunteers will be needed for the 2021-22 funding cycle. For more information on the funding process or to get involved, contact MaryBeth Kallio at mkallio@unitedwayracine.org.


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