United Way seeks donations to aid community

It's the organization that helps other organizations help people in need. It's the United Way of Wilson County.
Jan 8, 2013
allocations  Photo: Submitted

Brother Bob Evans  of Joseph's Storehouse Ministry speaking to United Way allocations volunteers during the most recent allocations hearings. Each agency is visited by at least one volunteer, their finances are audited, and the full panel reviews every agency to determine how much funding they should receive.

It's the organization that helps other organizations help people in need. It's the United Way of Wilson County.

The local United Way is now in the midst of its annual fundraising drive, and President John McMillin said the group is about halfway to the fundraising goal. He expects the county will come through.

"A county of our size, we should be knocking this thing out of the park," McMillin said. "I can't complain, because even with rising costs our community has stayed strong."

He said the UWWC has to cope with a problem few considered, the aging of the population.

"With the economy, many have had to cut back, and some have retired or passed away, so we've lost some of our traditional givers," he said. "Young people are less established, and many don't realize they can give to their favorite organizations through United Way. There's nothing wrong with that."

McMillin also said the United Way of Wilson County has 31 charitable organizations under its umbrella, but that if a donor wants to specify a donation go to a different organization, UWWC can do that as well. But he cautions organizations affiliated with the local United Way undergo a rigorous process to ensure money given to them ends up where it's supposed to end up.

"We do our spring allocations when 40 volunteers comb through all the agencies and they are grilled. Their books are questioned to verify the money goes where it needs to go," he said, adding that a couple organizations failed to meet the UWWC's rigerous standards and were removed from the organization's list of recipients. "We cut them off."

He explained the grilling for recipient agencies is extensive.

"Each agency is visited by at least one volunteer, their finances are audited, and the full panel reviews every agency to determine how much funding they should receive," he said. "We take great pride in our partner agencies and the work they do. Coupled with United Way’s programs like the Wonder Trails for toddlers and parents at the Don Fox and Charlie Daniels Parks, Raise Your Hand Tennessee for volunteers, 2-1-1 phone service to find help or volunteer help among other programs, UWWC strives to make Wilson County a better place to live."

McMillin explained a donor can simply give to UWWC, and the agency will distribute the funds to the organizations that need it, a donor can specify a specific organization or indicate one of four general areas they want their donation to aid - education, health, income or rebuilding lives.

"Rebuilding lives encompasses organizations like the Wilson County Community Help Center," he said.

While a donor can designate where his or her donation goes, McMillin said it's usually best to let the people at UWWC decide who gets what because they spend so much time investigating agencies and have a greater understanding of which organizations are doing the most and need the most help.

"I would ask people not to designate because we have the allocation panel," he said.

For more information about UWWC and how to donate, call McMillin at 615-443-1871.

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