United Way of the Midlands (UWM) invests millions of dollars into our community each year through various funding sources to include our traditional Community Care Fund (CCF), our new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Fund, Karnett Trust, Raise me to Read, Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), Community Health Agencies Drive (CHAD) – as well as American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars in partnership with the City of Omaha.
As part of these investment cycles, UWM accepts applications from agencies across the metro requesting funding for their programming. The task of helping determine which agency programs receive a grant award is the responsibility of the Community Investment Review Team (CIRT).
CIRT is made up of over 100 volunteers from the community who generously donate their time, talents and expertise to help UWM determine which programs applying for funds will actually receive a grant. The number of volunteers assigned to each review is dependent upon the size and scope of the investment cycle.
These individuals, who are subject matter experts in a variety of areas and active community members, bring their critical thinking to the process and ensure investment decisions are informed and powered by the community. Conflicts of interests are disclosed and respected to maintain the integrity of the process.
Once all of the applications are received by UWM, the volunteers are assigned specific applications for review and criteria to assess the merits of each application. In addition to scoring 10-12 applications, volunteers participate in an orientation meeting and two review meetings to discuss scores and funding levels.
Over the course of the grant period, volunteers are engaged in additional monitoring through reporting review and site visits, as necessary. Staff reviews reporting, provides technical assistance, connects volunteers to the agency, and uses this time to strengthen our organizational partnerships.
For multi-year investments, site visits are conducted in off-cycle years to provide volunteers with a sense of how dollars are being used to enhance service delivery. This engagement also helps UWM and volunteers keep our pulse on community needs in preparation for future funding cycles. Overall, this process helps ensure all funds are awarded to programs making the most significant impact in the community, while also addressing the highest needs areas.
We are currently building a list of community members interested in volunteering to review applications as part of the 2024 process. To learn more about the requirements or to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org