UWMC Speaking Points/FAQs
Why did the UWMC RFP focus on Childhood and Youth Success?
The United Way national model is based on three focus areas: Education, Income, and Health. Local United Ways adapt these areas to meet their communities’ unique needs. For UWMC, Childhood Success falls within the Education area, with strategies focused on Pre-K Readiness and Wrap-Around School support. Youth Success falls within the Health area, with strategies focused on youth mental health.
Lastly, the Employing Medina County program falls within the Income area. It is a United Way direct-service program so not open to RFP.
Who chose the new funding strategies?
Experienced community volunteers, who are members of the Community Impact Committee, make recommendations to the UW Medina County Board of Trustees. The Board approves recommendations and in turn passes them on to the United Way of Greater Cleveland Board of Trustees for final approval.
How are new funding strategies determined?
Funding strategies were determined using data gathered from several sources. Volunteers reviewed data to identify the greatest needs in Medina County. Volunteers also considered past performance of strategies and programs that have been funded for the past four years. Collectively, this information helped volunteers determine what the strategic funding focus should be for the next three years.
Community Impact volunteers considered data from these sources: Living Well Medina County Assessment commissioned by a county-wide coalition, the ALICE Study (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) commissioned by Ohio United Ways, the Medina County Indicator Report developed by the Centers for Community Solutions, and perspective gathered through a Community Conversations series with Medina County residents.
How long did the process take?
The process to determine new strategies took place over the course of seven months with the help of 50 volunteers and over 300 collective hours.
What are the most significant changes with the new strategies?
The new strategies are more focused and will have a more concentrated impact on children and youth. Specifically, Childhood Success is focused on Pre-K Readiness, with priority given to those districts with the biggest challenges, and on supporting students and families at Garfield Elementary through a Wrap-around School model. Youth Success will provide mental health access to students throughout Medina County, district-wide and down to elementary.
What about the agencies/organizations that had their funding ‘cut’ this year?
UWMC doesn’t cut funding. Rather, UWMC funds programs that strongly align with our Community Impact Agenda of Childhood and Youth Success. The Community Impact Agenda is designed to evolve to continue meeting the County’s greatest needs. Unfortunately, not all programs align with the Community Impact agenda, and despite doing meaningful work, hard choices had to be made.
The only time that an organization’s program funding will be ‘cut’, or in other words their funding eliminated, is when performance indicators and outcomes of a funded program are not delivered effectively.
How long will the new funding last?
The new funding period is from 2018-21, but continued funding is always contingent on programs delivering outcomes. Three years allows programs to focus on providing services, and sustaining high performance, rather than applying for funding on an annual basis. It also allows the program time to achieve impact and change in the community.
Why does UWMC keep changing its funding focus?
United Way’s funding focus has remained consistent for the past four years. In 2014, UWMC shifted to a Community Impact agenda, the first time in 85 years that the funding model had been revised. The Community Impact agenda is designed to change over time to stay current in meeting the County’s greatest needs as determined through objective assessment and experience.
Specific Data Cited:
The academic success of children in later years depends heavily upon their kindergarten readiness. The first few years of education and preparedness are the most crucial in establishing a solid foundation from which children can adapt to school systems and learn successfully. During this period, children develop primary skills that form the foundations of reading, counting and social interaction.
In Medina County, Cloverleaf School District struggles with the lowest rates for kindergarten readiness, 17.7% are emerging (skills are just beginning) and 42% are approaching (skills partially evident); Medina City School District is second at 17.4% emerging and 33.6% approaching; Brunswick is third with 12.8% emerging and 36% approaching.
Wrap-Around School Support:
By the end of 3rd grade, children transition from learning to read to reading to learn-and children who do not make this transition struggle in the school years that follow. For low-income families, there are often social determinants of health that hinder academic learning. Removing barriers to basic needs and supporting families holistically can help improve academic performance and prepare children to be on grade level by the end of third grade.
In Medina County, Garfield Elementary struggles with the lowest 3rd grade reading proficiency levels: 41.8% are limited and 14.5% are basic. Garfield has the highest free and reduced lunch population in the county; 71% of the student population qualifies.
Youth Mental Health and Prevention:
There is an increasing awareness that there needs to be a strong focus on prevention and wellness from preconception on through early adulthood to lay a firm foundation for later general and mental health.
1. Studies show that half of those who will develop mental health disorders show symptoms by age 14. Evidence-based mental illness prevention programs have positive effects on children and family health as well as on multiple social health issues such as educational achievement, financial stability, building safe communities, and many other social goods. With such programs in place, mentally healthy children can take fuller advantage of learning opportunities, individuals can be more effective in their job performance, and youth can feel safer in their homes and in their neighborhoods.
2. In Medina County, 14% of youth have considered suicide, 7% attempted suicide, and 25% have reported feeling hopeless for more than two weeks. (Living Well Medina County Assessment).