In 1887, a Denver priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative effort to address their cities welfare problems. They created an organization to serve as an agent to collect funds for local charities, today that agency known as the United Way of America has more than 1300 locally governed agencies that raised more than 4 billion dollars last year.
Our organizational roots go back to 1988 when the Salvation Army approached the Farmington community looking for a group to run the yearly holiday kettle campaign.
An agreement was reached that funds raised from the kettle campaign in Farmington would be divided equally between three organizations, the Salvation Army, the Farmington Ministerial Alliance and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. This original agreement is still in effect today, although the kettle collections are now divided with 1/3 of the funds going to the Salvation Army, and 2/3 going to the United Way of St. Francois County for grant distribution. This agreement is renewed yearly with the Salvation Army’s main office in St. Louis.
In 1994, FUFI (Farmington United Fund, Inc.) was formed, and a board established to manage and grow the fund raising efforts in our community. FUFI’s board of directors made the decision to improve the ability of the organization to raise funds, and help those in need in our community the best long term decision would be to become a member of the United Way organization.
In 1996, the United Way of Farmington was founded, in 1999 the organization expanded to encompass all of our county, changing it’s name to the United Way of St. Francois County.
Our local United Way is a local independent, non-profit 501(c) organization. We are one of the over 1500 United Way organizations across the country. Each United Way is an autonomous organization governed by its own board of directors. Our United Way pays a small yearly fee to the United Way of America for use of its logo, and some organizational guidance.
Each year in April our United Way publicizes the availability of grant applications for United Way funding. These grant applications are reviewed in June and grants are awarded. These grants are as a general rule paid out the following January or February. All grants are awarded to organizations within St. Francois County.
The basic mission of our United Way as stated in our by-laws is to provide funding and support to nonprofit groups to help meet the most basic human needs of food, shelter, health, educational, and social welfare services in St. Francois County.
Currently over 40 % of our grant funding is given to organizations providing food, utility and housing assistance in our county. We provide grants to seven food pantries within our county; we also help to support all four senior centers. Other grants go to organizations such as; The LIFE Center for Independent Living, SEMO Family Violence Council, Parkland Foster Adopt Families, Shared Blessings Homeless Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels for Special diets, and Caring Communities programs throughout the county, as well as various youth at risk agencies.
In the 2014-2015 campaign year, including the Salvation Army partnership with the United Way, we distributed $180,000 in grant funding and financial support.
Our United Way revenue comes from the following sources:
- Payroll deductions – accounts for over 70% of our funding
- Holiday Bell ringing kettle collections
- Corporate and Patron Gifts
- Fund Raisers held by the United Way, such as Dine Out
- Annual newspaper insert revenue
Our board is made up of community leaders within our county. Board members serve three-year terms.
Volunteer support for our annual Bell ringing campaign is coordinated through our local office in Farmington. Volunteers may call 760-8929 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Executive Director’s salary and all administrative costs are paid out of a separate administrative account. This account is funded through the Dine Out program, corporate grants and donations given specifically toward operating costs.
By maintaining a separate administrative account, and ensuring its funding from separate sources, we can ensure that every individual donating any funds to the United Way will see every penny go to the organizations we support.
Look around in your community and see your United Way at Work!