Last month, we introduced our community investment process with a Q&A from Sara, the director. If you need it, here’s a brief recap:
The community investment process is how we distribute grants to fund initiatives run by local nonprofits that align with our impact areas of education, stability and health. The purpose of this process is to financially support a network of partners working collaboratively to provide comprehensive and coordinated services that drive deep impact across our community.
The money invested into this process comes from generous donors in our community - companies and individuals like you!
These grants are distributed once a year - check out last year’s recipients.
We said we’d keep you posted as new or returning projects were funded, and we’re here with good news -- grants have been finalized through the community investment process for the current cycle. The projects and initiatives that received funding this go-around are all focused on driving impact in United Way’s focus areas of education, health and stability. More specifically, we can break these projects down into five categories: community engagement, childhood success, youth success, economic mobility and access to health. The community investment process, as you now know, was designed to target and develop solutions aimed at creating systemic and sustainable results in these areas.
Read on to learn more about some of our newest community investment-funded projects and partners.
We believe that when we engage every resident of our community, our collective impact changes everything. Through the community investment process, United Way strives to fund programs that encourage connection -- programs like The Shed, run by our nonprofit partner Signal Centers. The goal of this program is to combat social isolation and
create a more livable community for senior citizens in the Chattanooga area. The Shed seeks to connect seniors to their community by improving their technological and social media skills (more valuable now than ever due to COVID), helping teach each other new skills and presenting opportunities to interact with volunteers of all ages and abilities through partnerships with local colleges, high schools, and other community organizations.
United Way believes that every child in our community should have equal opportunity to succeed and seeks to support programs that in turn support Greater Chattanooga’s children. One of our nonprofit partners and community investment funding recipients, the Helen Ross McNabb Center, is caring for our community’s children through a pretty groundbreaking project: the Hamilton Therapeutic Preschool, which just celebrated its official opening. The Therapeutic Preschool provides intensive early intervention services to children who have been abused, neglected or experienced trauma of any kind in a safe and educational setting. There is a significant family component for caregivers, guardians and parents which ensures that interventions and support provided in the program transition to the child's natural community setting of school, day care and home. “Evidence shows that children and youth who experience a traumatic event without the necessary support and coping skills are more apt to have mental health, substance abuse and medical concerns throughout their lifetime,” says Gayle Lodato, Director of Greater Chattanooga Services at HRMC, “By engaging with children soon after a traumatic event, allowing them the time to process their experience, teaching them positive coping skills and supporting their family and/or caregivers, the children build resilience and have more positive outcomes.” The Hamilton Therapeutic Preschool just welcomes its first class, and the children are already benefiting from the specialized services.
As with early childhood, United Way believes that equal opportunity to succeed should extend throughout schooling years for every member of our Greater Chattanooga youth community. For many years, the Boys and Girls Club of Chattanooga has been working tirelessly to support at-risk children in our community and to prepare them for the future, and this year they’re launching community investment funded programs in Afterschool and Summer Enrichment for Children, Youth and Families. Effective out-of-school programs like this one boost academic performance, reduce risky behaviors while building character, promote health and provide a safe environment for children whose parents are not home after school or during the summer months. Methods of mentorship and continued learning have become more critical in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and school closures than ever before. “Our out-of-school and summer programs are some of our largest programs that have the biggest reach and impact,” says Donyel Johnson, Chief Development Officer at the B&GCC. “Although we faced challenges during COVID-19, we didn’t let that deter us from serving our community’s youth. We continued to provide support by feeding 187 kids daily, actively engaging in call & connect programming for 393 club members, and mentored 30 high school seniors on the college education pathway.”
Another one of United Way’s goals is to help every individual or family have the opportunity to improve their socioeconomic status in Greater Chattanooga. Northside Neighborhood House runs a stability-focused community program called Stable Neighbors, Healthy Communities that received community investment funding both last grant cycle and this grant cycle. The program aims to move neighbors in need to stability by providing assistance with basic needs services (food, utility bills, prescriptions), but also connecting clients to resources like budgeting, goal setting, Adult Education classes, workforce development, job search assistance and more. NNH does this largely out of the Coffee Community Collective location, which houses both community space and offices for stability resources.
Access to Health
United Way and our partners work to ensure every member of our community has access to healthcare and can get the help they need to improve or maintain their health. A simple and straightforward example of a community investment-funded initiative focused on improving health outcomes in the Greater Chattanooga community is the ESS (Elders Stability and Support) program, run by the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga. Through this program, JFGC provides services to the elderly and disabled including delivered meals, medication management, nurse visits, advocacy, transportation, socialization activities and case management, allowing those they serve to live in dignity with a secure quality of life.
When we mobilize resources and connect them to solutions and to those seeking to make change, we can build a stronger community and change lives together. When you donate to United Way of Greater Chattanooga, you make programs like these possible through the community investment process. Donate today to make an impact for your neighbors tomorrow.