UWS Agency FAQ Document

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Why did United Way Suncoast decide to change its investment process?

In January 2017, United Way Suncoast made a commitment to review our investment process and strategies to ensure that we continue to align all community investments with our mission to break the cycle of generational poverty by focusing on early literacy, youth success and financial stability initiatives. 

Changing how investments are made and the timing of our commitments will enable us to better adapt to trends in giving, honor donor intent and maximize the impact of our community investments. 

Is a change to the current investment process necessary?

The investment review initiative was driven by individual and corporate donors becoming more selective in how their gifts are invested—a trend that has significantly impacted the unrestricted funds available for United Way to invest through the traditional allocation pool. Donors have more choices and they understandably want to see the direct impact of their funding.

We made the strategic decision to shift from our traditional allocations model to a process for community investments where all eligible human service agencies can apply with an emphasis on community collaboration.  This will allow for even more flexibility to respond to emerging trends.

How was I notified of the change in investment process?

In April 2017, we notified our partner agencies that we were reviewing the current allocations model to ensure a focus on education and financial stability as investment priorities. Since that time, we have communicated frequently throughout the review process to ensure that all stakeholders are prepared and actively involved in future decisions. 

We have worked collaboratively with over 300 stakeholders across partner agencies, funders, donors, volunteers, industry leaders and United Way Suncoast staff to assess best practices, gather stakeholder requirements and foster open dialogue to accomplish our shared community goals. Furthermore, all partner agencies were invited to share their input during our series of United Way Change Conversations that took place in the fall of 2018.

How will funding decisions be made under the new investment process?

All proposed investment opportunities will be reviewed by our Community Impact Committee and will require approval by our Board. We encourage applicants to clearly communicate the connection of their proposed programs to our core mission within early literacy, youth success or financial stability.

When will the new investment priorities be finalized?

The new process for requesting funding from United Way Suncoast will be open to all eligible human service agencies in January of 2020. Contracts will begin no later than July 1, 2020. 

Does this mean I can no longer receive funding from United Way Suncoast?

No! We encourage eligible agencies to apply for funding through our new investment process beginning in January of 2020

How will this impact my current programs that are being funded?

We understand that this transition may directly impact current United Way-funded programs. To help our partners manage this transition, we were pleased to offer an initial six-month bridge funding from January 1, 2019 through June 30, 2019.

In addition, we have since provided additional bridge funding for July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020 to provide ongoing support of all currently funded programs through the complete transition to the new investment model. All agencies have been notified of their bridge funding installments, which represent the final distribution of funding from our prior allocations model.

Where can I learn more about the investment process?

We will begin conducting agency meetings in June 2019 to discuss the new priority outcomes in education and financial stability. In Fall 2019, United Way Suncoast will conduct trainings for organizations interested in applying for funding through our new investment process.

When can I request funding under the new investment process?

The new process for requesting funding from United Way Suncoast will be open to all eligible human service agencies beginning in January 2020, with contracts to begin no later than July 1, 2020.  

How can I provide my feedback about the new investment process?

We will hold meetings with community partners in June 2019 to review the new investment framework and priorities. Agencies are invited to attend to provide feedback and to learn more about our new process.

We encourage continued input and involvement as we move toward our new investment process. If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact your local United Way Area President.

Is the investment process changing for all United Way chapters? 

Every local United Way has the authority to define an investment process that meets the needs of its local community.  Many United Ways across the country have gone through change processes similar to United Way Suncoast.  The former United Way of Manatee County, now a part of United Way Suncoast, actually went through such a change several years ago. 

How will United Way Suncoast measure its impact of the new investment priorities?

The new investment process is part of our continuing effort to align investments and increase funding within our strategic goal areas, and to be responsive to the significant change in donor behavior. 

We will measure our community impact by implementing a system of accountability for all agencies. Every invested agency  will be responsible for submitting output and outcome description, targets, and background notes before the start of the fiscal year. As the year progresses, agencies will provide a mid-year and end-of-year report. United Way Suncoast will evaluate agency results against the target numbers and provide organizational feedback accordingly to ensure compliance with our strategic plan and its focus areas.

All agencies will have access to a United Way Suncoast Investment Guidelines document that will outline all investment criteria, requirements, eligibility and exclusions. This will be made available on United Way Suncoast’s website when applications open in January of 2020.