- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—United Way of Central New Mexico awarded $3.5 million to local nonprofits as part of its community fund initiative.

The money went to 103 nonprofits in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia counties.

The community fund is made up of unrestricted donations that United Way receives. Donors may also decide where they want their money to go within three main categories in the fund: health programs, education programs or basic needs/financial stability.

Nonprofit organizations submit proposals, requesting money for specific programs that have measurable goals. A team of 100 trained United Way volunteers then reads the proposals, views presentations by the nonprofit groups and offers suggestions to a council of 12 that makes the ultimate allocation decisions.

Breaking down the numbers

Amount United Way had to give — $3.5M

Average grant amount — $34,077

Number of nonprofits — 103

Five Biggest Recipients

—B4­3 Network, $390,000

—St. Martin’s Hospitality Center, $190,000

—PB&J; Family Services, $105,000

—All Faiths, $100,000

—Samaritan Counseling Center, $100,000

To view a full list of Community Fund recipients, visit www.uwcnm.org/fundedprograms.

“It’s a huge responsibility for these volunteers, because there are so many quality programs in our community and the need far exceeds what we have to give,” said Randy Woodcock, vice president of the United Way of Central New Mexico.

“There are far more programs than perhaps we will ever be able to do justice. We are always trying to grow the community funds,” added Ari Herring, the organization’s director of community impact.

This year, United Way received $10.5 million in requests from nonprofit groups during its grant season, but had only $3.5 million to allocate.

“There were many organizations that we wanted to fund this year, and we just ran out of money,” Woodcock said, adding that he encourages donors to share their gift with the community fund, which has the greatest impact on local needs.

The top three recipients this year were the B4-3 Network, a collaboration of five agencies that received $392,000, St. Martin’s Hospitality Center, with $190,000, and PB&J; Family Services with $105,000.

The money goes not only toward specific programs within local organizations, but also to United Way initiatives. For example, the Tax Help program provides free tax preparation to anyone with an annual income under $58,000 or 65 and older. The Mission: Graduate program seeks to increase the number of postsecondary degrees by 60,000 individuals by the year 2020.

United Way’s community fund initiative has existed for 75 years, and stays true to the organization’s mission of strengthening and creating a positive impact for the community, Woodcock said.

“We seldom see a person come in as a victim of domestic violence who isn’t dealing with anything else,” he said. “They likely need housing, counseling, maybe day care. United Way looks at the whole family and we try to provide services that address all of the needs in our community.”

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(c)2015 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

Visit the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) at www.abqjournal.com

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