United Way of Butler County’s Board of Directors recently approved $230,000 in grant funding awards for the 2017-2018 fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017. The awards were granted to 12 programs run by 9 agencies which are all helping to move families and individuals toward self-sufficiency, and align with United Way of Butler County’s goal of reducing the number of families and individuals living below the self-sufficiency standard by 30% by the year 2030 – “30 by 30”. 
In addition to the grant awards, United Way will distribute approximately $450,000 in donor-designated funds to numerous non-profit organizations both locally and nationwide, and will manage and distribute an additional $100,000 in special initiatives funding through the Butler County Emergency Relief Initiative, which provides utility and other emergency assistance;  a grant from XTO Energy for after school tutoring and the Employment Initiative; grants from UPMC Health Plan and Peoples TWP to assist with operating 2-1-1 in Butler County; and other grants specifically utilized for the Employment Initiative.
Grant funding decisions are made through the Community Investment Process, in which community volunteers review funding applications and presentations by agencies against a set of measurable outcomes and critical indicators to ensure that donor dollars will drive positive, sustainable, measureable outcomes showing movement of individuals and/or families toward self-sufficiency. Within the Community Investment Process, a volunteer finance panel, comprised of experts in auditing and non-profit financial management, reviews governance documents and ensures funded agencies demonstrate sound financial management of funds. 
These panels provide funding recommendations, based upon their evaluations of both paper applications and in-person presentations, to the Board of Directors who then align the recommendations to the budget for United Way of Butler County.  “This was again a year with a lot of very good discussion and fact finding done by the Community Investment Panels throughout the process. Once again, the panels’ recommended totals exceeded the budgeted amount, so difficult decisions needed to be made,” said Kierston Hobaugh, Executive Director of United Way of Butler County.  “As we are moving to an issue focus organizational model of impact, a more critical approach was taken to ensure the programs are working to move families and individuals on the path toward self-sufficiency, and are showing positive, sustainable outcomes.” 
Community Investment Panel members included:  
Julie Anderson, Stepanian & Menchyk, LLP
Barbara Baum, Community Member
David Baum, Retired – Pennzoil/Penreco 
Stacey Burk, Butler County Area Vocational Technical School
Justin Grew, Armstrong
Greg Haughey, Retired – BASF
Stan Kosciuszko, Butler County Chamber of Commerce
Elizabeth Mills, FedEx Ground
Nicholas Norante, Jr., Westinghouse Electric Company
Joe Taylor, Armstrong
Peggy Weckerly, Retired – Butler County CareerLink
The Finance Review Panel included:
Aaron Bonus, Bonus Accounting
Kenny Bonus, Bonus Accounting
Jake Friel, Butler County Community College
Lynn Ismail, Butler County Community College
Pam McCullough, Butler County Community College
JoEllen Shever, Butler County Community College
Agencies were notified on May 4th of grant funding decisions. Applications were received for 21 programs in total, with 9 program applicants not receiving United Way of Butler County funding this year. A complete list of programs awarded grants follows.   
United Way of Butler County is an independent non-profit organization affiliated and connected to the United Way Worldwide network, the world’s largest privately supported charity. The mission of United Way of Butler County is “Improving lives and creating positive, sustainable change in Butler County.” The bold goal is 30 by 30 – move 30% of Butler County individuals/families living below the self-sufficiency standard to or above the threshold by the year 2030.