AP NEWS

Greenwich United Way awards $600K in grants

February 20, 2019

GREENWICH — Local nonprofits got a major boost as the Greenwich United Way handed out nearly $600,000 in its first round of Community Investment Grants, with the amounts ranging from $5,000 to $125,000.

“We uncover unmet needs,” David Rabin, the Greenwich United Way’s CEO, said Tuesday. “We raise awareness and support, and we develop lasting solutions. And the simpler way to say all of that is just to say that we find it, fund it, fix it when it comes to human services needs in the town of Greenwich.”

At a recent reception at Greenwich Hospital, 20 grants were issued. And as it continues fundraising for its annual campaign, the Greenwich United Way plans a second round of grants, likely in May. Rabin did not specify how much the grants would be but pledged it would be a “significant amount.”

The grants are made after a thorough evaluation by the Greenwich United Way. There are “true deep dives” into the applications, he said. The programs are reviewed, as are the financial documents of the agencies. That process is all led by volunteers, Rabin said, with 25 people working in teams of two to examine different agencies and the requests.

“They reviewed everything,” he said. “They did site visits and made recommendations back to the grants committee. The committee set those amounts and then the board made its vote to approve it…They are scrutinizing the program and seeing what kind of an outcome it’s going to have on the most Greenwich residents.”

Each organization explains what it hopes a program will do and shows results from any previous grants. The outcomes must be proven — the Greenwich United Way is “all about” results-based accountability, Rabin said.

“We want to make sure the donor dollars that are being spent have the most impact possible because of our stringent process,” he said.

The Greenwich United received $1.25 million in requests, most ranging from $10,000 to $250,000, Rabin said. Hard decisions must be made about where the dollars will have the greatest impact.

“The need is definitely, definitely out there,” he said. “We aim to do the best we can. We wish, of course, we could do it all and we’re grateful for our donors for what we can do. Without our donors’ support, this doesn’t happen at all. The people of the town of Greenwich always step forward to help us do what we do.”

The Transportation Association of Greenwich received a $30,000 grant, continuing a partnership that dates back more than 30 years. Michael Miller, a member of TAG’s board and its treasurer, said representatives from the Greenwich United Way were among the group’s founders.

“This grant is critical for TAG,” Miller said. “This has been such an important partnership to us and it’s a main part of our fundraising strategy.”

The funds will support TAG’s Dial-A-Ride program, which helps seniors and the disabled get to vital medical appointments and more, and toward the start of a campaign to replace some of TAG’s aging vehicles.

Additionally, $40,000 went to the YWCA Greenwich for its domestic abuse services such as the 24/7 hotline and crisis counseling for victims of intimate partner violence. “The ability to connect with and serve victims in crisis keeps victims and their children safer and saves lives,” President and CEO Mary Lee Kiernan said.

The grants issued last week also included: $5,000 for Jewish Family Services’ Supermarketing for Seniors program, $35,000 for River House Adult Day Centers services to help local seniors, $50,000 for the Child Guidance Center’s child and family therapy program, $40,000 for Community Centers Inc.’s comprehensive education program that provides academic, social and emotional services.

The largest grant was for $125,000, which went to Family Centers for use at all of its early care and education sites for young children. CEO Bob Arnold said Family Centers is grateful for the ongoing partnership with the Greenwich United Way as they work together to close the opportunity gap in Fairfield County.

“More than ever we have local families struggling just to make ends meet,” Arnold said. “This very generous grant from the Greenwich United Way allows us to provide critical scholarship assistance to help working parents provide their children with the quality preschool experience they need to attain long-term academic success.”

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com