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Rowan United Way transitions to Community Impact Model

SALISBURY — Rowan County United Way has plans to change from a purely fundraising model to one aimed at partnering with local nonprofit agencies to deliver services needed in the community.

The board of directors discussed the transition at a meeting last week.

Members heard from Chrystie Turner, vice president of community impact with United Way of the Lowcountry. Turner explained how the South Carolina organization shifted to the Community Impact Model eight years ago.

The idea is to move away from the “shotgun” strategy that focuses on funding direct services that align with achieving measurable outcomes rather than addressing root causes, local United Way officials said.

The Rowan County agency, like many others have done, is looking at ways to maximize impact and increase efficiency. It learned through a recent needs assessment that the areas of concern among local residents include mental health, substance abuse, and healthy lifestyle behaviors.

According to Turner, these issues will be tackled as funding opens up to any program that can achieve lasting results.

“We took data from the needs assessment to best address the major needs,” said Executive Director Jenny Lee.

By looking only through the lenses of members agencies, the organization misses opportunities in the community. The idea is to serve the community at large, Lee said.

One of the reasons to change to the Community Impact Model is that contributors want to see the direct impact their gifts are making.

“In order to make this effort successful, it will require us all working together,” said Barry Hill, who will lead the Community Impact Committee.

For more information about the Community Impact Model, contact the United Way at 704-633-1802.

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