United Way approves allocations

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

The United Way of Eastern New Mexico announced during its Friday meeting what many board members call a process even harder than soliciting donations from Curry and Roosevelt counties — distributing those donations to area programs operated by nonprofit agencies.

The board discussed at the Memorial Building in Portales the process of evaluating the programs and agencies requesting United Way funding and the allocations based on those evaluations.

“As always, the allocation is a tough process,” Allocation Chair Todd Morris said. “Not all allocations get fully funded.”

Most allocations were less than, or none of, the dollars requested. More than 50 programs were listed on an allocation sheet distributed at the meeting, totaling $460,988.

Of that total, $329,515 was allocated — $282,854 in Curry County and $46,661 in Roosevelt County.

Scores were given on a basis of needs and accountability, with a maximum score possible of 36. Only Eastern New Mexico Food Bank had a score of 36, and received its full request of $5,000.

Organizations that scored low, Executive Director Erinn Burch said, often were scored that way because of little track record or they couldn’t give negative impacts beyond, “If you won’t fund it, we won’t do it.”

Some organizations were given contingencies with allocations, including tracking systems to verify all money stays within its respective county.

“The (process made us) realize there wasn’t a clear demarcation line (for all organizations),” Burch said. “The contingencies don’t mean they’re doing a bad job. That just means somebody needed a little bit of reassurance.”

One program Burch said she was not happy to turn down was a teen center from the Salvation Army. A requested allocation of $10,000 was turned down, Burch said, mainly because it’s risky to be the first investor in a teen center and sometimes the organization falls apart a few years down the road and the teens who first used the center aren’t teenagers anymore.

Treasurer Marty Tressell said it was tough to say no to that program specifically, though he agreed with the evaluation.

“We’re looking for programs that go outside the norm,” Tressell said. “We keep on looking for more ways to find programs that reach people and leverage people besides the normal areas.”