Twenty-six Central Oregon nonprofits have been collectively awarded $310,000 from United Way of Deschutes County as part of the organization’s annual grantmaking process. Every year, our local United Way launches a community campaign to raise funds that are used to address the most pertinent, unmet needs of individuals and families in our community. Funds raised through this process stay local to help our friends and neighbors and to address some of the biggest issues affecting our region, improving lives and creating lasting change.
United Way supports local, direct-service nonprofits that focus on a wide range of human health and welfare issues, from basic needs to empowerment, through grantmaking that provides direct financial aid to these programs and services. Nonprofit organizations that receive grants from United Way through this process are called Community Impact Partners.
Grant recipients include organizations or programs that are focused on building resilience in Central Oregon. One such program is Central Oregon 2-1-1 Info. Similar to the 9-1-1 emergency phone number, 2-1-1 is a one-stop connection to local services, from utility assistance, food, housing, child care, after school programs, elder care, crisis intervention, and more. When someone dials 2-1-1 from anywhere in Central Oregon, they are connected with a highly-trained call specialist who is skilled in needs assessment and can provide referrals to resources. Every day, call specialists help callers find assistance for complex issues such as financial problems, substance abuse, and suicide prevention, as well as for simpler issues such as finding volunteer opportunities and donation options.
Council on Aging of Central Oregon’s Meals on Wheels program is another United Way grantee. Meals on Wheels enhances the quality of life of homebound individuals by providing home-delivered nutritious meals, personal contact, and related services. Many of those served by the program are seniors and many live in rural areas. In recent months, the importance of resources for seniors facing depression has come into the spotlight. For years, the Council on Aging of Central Oregon has provided this vital service to so many members of our community.
Other grant recipients include: Back Door Café, Bethlehem Inn, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bend, Camp Fire of Central Oregon, CASA, Cash Oregon, Central Oregon Veterans Ranch, Council on Aging Central Oregon, Family Resource Center of Central Oregon, Friends of the Children, Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center, Healthy Beginnings, Heart of Oregon Corps, J Bar J (Big Brothers Big Sisters), J Bar J (Cascade Youth & Family Center), J Bar J (Grandma’s House), KIDS Center, LaPine Community Kitchen, Latino Community Association, MountainStar Family Relief Nursery, NeighborImpact Food, NeighborImpact Housing, Saving Grace, Oregon Children’s Foundation – SMART, Thrive Central Oregon, and Central Oregon 211 Info.
United Way board member Melanie Grandjacques chaired the Community Impact Committee, which was made up of 29 local community member volunteers who reviewed the grant proposals and made funding award decisions. She said: “It was heartening to read proposals from so many wonderful community organizations that devote all their waking hours to improving the lives of members of our community. At the same time, it was disheartening to have insufficient resources to fully fund every worthy request. We focused the resources we had on programs that address the impacts of childhood trauma and focus on developing resilience.”
United Way of Deschutes County is leading a community-wide social movement to build resilience in individuals, families, and our community, and to increase awareness and decrease impacts of childhood trauma. For 67 years, the organization has focused on health, education, and financial stability as the foundation of wellbeing and opportunity, along with basic needs like food, shelter, and health care. As the nonprofit continues to focus on these causes, it is also working upstream to tackle childhood trauma: the root cause of many problems currently faced by so many in our community.