Sometimes the challenges facing communities are simply too great for any one organization to tackle alone. With that in mind, United Way of Lane County just awarded $300,000 in Coalition Grants — to help groups work collectively to solve big problems.
Lodging. Prevention of violence. Child care. Food security. These four issues are where selected coalitions will focus their efforts over the next year.
Jared Pruch is Director of Community Impact at United Way. He said: ‘You can see the magnitude of these issues, really focused on the needs of children and families and some of the important, difficult and complex issues that we face in Lane County.
Each coalition is made up of many not-for-profit organizations that do their part. Organizations be your bestHope and Safety Alliance (formerly Womespace,) FOOD for Lane County and Lane Community Health Council will each act as the backbone of their respective coalition.
Starting July 1, the following four coalitions will each receive grants of $75,000 for the year 2022-2023:
- South Lane Child Care Coalition: the funding will facilitate a community needs assessment on the impact of the lack of safe, high-quality child care on the health of families and on the economy of South Lane. The data collected will inform the highest priorities (e.g. space, facilities, staff, training, etc.) that the community needs to address. Coalition partners include Be Your Best, 90by30, Friends of Cottage Grove Public Library, South Lane School District Family Resource Center, Family Relief Nursery, Head Start of South Lane, Cottage Grove Public Library, Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce, Lane Quality Connections, PeaceHealth, Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC)
- Filling gaps in food access for school communities: By conducting a school needs assessment and creating a GIS heatmap of gaps in food aid access, this coalition hopes to identify solutions to increase families’ access to food in schools, the one of the best places to serve families. Led by FOOD for Lane County, partners include 15th Night, One Hope, The ARC of Lane County, Oregon Research Institute Community & Evaluation Services
- Lane Learning Collaborative (Housing): the funding will help establish a formal coalition of thought leaders and people with lived experience to create a system-wide network that promotes housing stability. Priority areas include standardizing training for employees of housing service industries; advocate for policy in local and regional governments to address housing insecurity; and more. Coalition partners include Lane Community Health Council, Laurel Hill Center, Sponsors, Homes for Good, ShelterCare, St. Vincent de Paul, Siuslaw Outreach Services, DevNW, Cornerstone Community Housing, Square One Villages
- Lane County Violence Prevention Coalition: The funding will help integrate community efforts around domestic violence, child abuse prevention, and sexual assault response to create a countywide system to prevent abuse and violence; respond effectively when trauma and injustice have occurred; and working at the intersection of multiple forms of trauma. Partners are Hope & Safety Alliance, 90by30 Initiative, Kids FIRST, Sexual Assault Support Services, Siuslaw Outreach Services
Pruch said contributions from individuals, corporations and corporate donors are what make these grants possible. To support these programs and the broader United Way efforts to help children succeed, community members and businesses can donate, volunteer and become sponsors of United Way’s work at www.unitedwaylane.org or by dialing 541-741-6000.