OPINION

Story County United Way Community Impact Grant: Boys & Girls Club Renovations

Sara Wilson

Throughout the current campaign, we continue to learn how great things happen when we live united. United Way of Story County (UWSC) focuses on education, income and health – the building blocks for a good quality of life – and the community is coming together to help advance the common good in these areas.

In addition to investing in core programs through partner agencies, UWSC offers the opportunity for human service agencies in Story County to apply for grant funding. When funding is available (which may come from such sources as campaign donations directed to education, income or health, income from the UWSC Endowment or the annual budget, or from Golf Fore Kids), the UWSC Allocations Committee will review applications before presenting recommendations to the UWSC Board of Directors. The awarded grants must support unanticipated, emerging or other under-funded needs.

Earlier this summer, UWSC awarded Community Impact Grants to support projects on a larger scale than the monthly grant applications. Applicants were asked to demonstrate how their programs impact the community and people served in the areas of education, income and health. In July, the UWSC Board of Directors voted to allocate more than $114,000 total to seven programs.

For the past several weeks, this column has highlighted all seven Community Impact Grant recipients as a way to share the good work of local agencies and, at the same time, fill you in on other opportunities UWSC provides beyond the traditional campaign and funding model.

The board voted to allocate a $30,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Story County to help replace the roof of the clubhouse so that it is safer, more welcoming and better suited to youth programming.

The Boys & Girls Club of Story County has been serving youth in Story County for over fifty years. In 1998, the new clubhouse was built on South Fifth Street in Ames to better serve the needs of the youth. Since that time, thousands of Story County children and adolescents have called the club their home away from home, receiving daily academic support, outcome-driven programming, healthy meals and snacks and positive, adult guidance from trained, professional staff.

The Ames Clubhouse is in need of some facility renovations to keep the club safe and to make it as accessible and program- friendly as possible for the hundreds of youth that continue to use the space each year. The current roof leaks in a number of locations throughout the building, causing damage to the ceiling, cabinets and walls. Leaks have been addressed individually, but the roof needs significant attention to prevent ongoing damage and ward off potential mold growth. The most economical and best solution is to replace the entire roof. United Way is requesting the Boys & Girls Club raise matching funds before the $30,000 grant is awarded. This total cost of the project will be $59,100.

The improved roof will promote a healthier club environment by eliminating leaks and moisture in the building, enabling the Boys & Girls Club of Story County to better serve its members and the community organizations who use the facility.

It can also be noted that, just as in the ASSET process, outcomes are important to UWSC in the grant process as well. After UWSC has received a signed agreement from the Boys & Girls Club, or any other agency, the grant payment is made. A report on the status of the program and use of funds is required from the agency six months after the initial grant date. Thus, the UWSC grant process ensures investments are not only needed but also spent effectively.

The momentum is building, and we’re excited to share the collective good work. We invite you join us and see that great things happen when we live united. You can give, you can advocate and you can volunteer.

Sara Wilson is marketing director for United Way of Story County.