Staff at United Way Blackhawk Region believe extending their community grant funding cycle will help the organization have a greater effect on the community.

Community grants in 2018 will be applied across 18 months as opposed to the standard one-year grant, according to a news release.

This is the first step toward a new two-year funding cycle, which is the United Way network’s standard, according to the release. The nonprofit believes the extension will emphasize longer-term community programming.

The United Way’s 2018 community grant investments will total $2.344 million and will benefit 62 local health and human services programs, according to the release.

The nonprofit allocated $1.68 million in grants last year, according to a previous Gazette report.

Pledges from the United Way’s 2017 capital campaign totals $1.66 million so far, said CEO Mary Fanning-Penny. That’s about 66 percent of the nonprofit’s $2.5 million goal.

The organization is waiting on final reports from 15 local and 20 national campaigns, Fanning-Penny said. It is too early to make a final projection for the campaign, she said.

“We tend to wait with baited breath,” Fanning-Penny said.

United Way will dedicate $86,000 to additional investments including its 2-1-1 information service, emergency funding and capacity building and venture grants, according to the release.

About 16 percent of the nonprofit’s fundraising goal will go toward operating expenses, Fanning-Penny said. That includes salaries, benefits and office expenses.

The operating budget will total $529,551, Fanning-Penny said in an email to The Gazette. She says the amount is well within United Way guidelines.

Community grants will benefit 28 nonprofit organizations that work to improve health, education and financial stability in the community, according to the release.

Community Action will receive the largest grant at $381,000, according to the release. That’s a 112-percent increase from its allotted $180,000 last year.

Fanning-Penny said the increase is a result of Community Action’s acquisition of the Merrill Community Center in Beloit, which traditionally applied for its own grant funding.

The Glacier’s Edge Council Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Badgerland Council will see year-to-year grant funding decreases of 76 and 88 percent, respectively.

Glacier’s Edge will receive $10,000 to split between the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in $10,000 in 2018, and the Girls Scouts will receive $5,000. The groups received more than $40,000 last year.

When asked about year-to-year decreases, Fanning-Penny said United Way does not consider past funding in its decisions for community grants. No funding is guaranteed, and each application is reviewed on a yearly basis based on merit, she said, adding each organization starts on an even playing field.

Big Brothers Big Sisters, Community Coordinated Child Care, Hands of Faith, Independent Disability Services, Rock Communities Youth Network and Senior Services of Rock County received funding in 2017 but will not in 2018.

Some organizations might have chosen not to apply, found other revenue sources or have since dissolved, Fanning-Penny said.

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