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How We Fund Our Agencies: The Citizen Review Process

Message from CRC Member, Mitchell Irlmeier

The United Way of Clinton County Iowa presents many opportunities for the citizens of the community to make an impact, whether it be through giving, advocating, or volunteering. One of those volunteering opportunities is the Citizen Review Committee (CRC). The ultimate goal of the CRC is to review all of the program applications and submit a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for how to allocate the campaign contributions.

The committee is comprised of community volunteers that serve on one of the three panels that represent the impact areas of United Way - Health and Wellness, Education, and Financial Stability. Each panel member will serve as liaison to a specific program that submitted an application. This consists of reviewing the program narrative and budget information in-depth, making a visit to the agency to further that learning process, and writing up a summary report to share with the rest of the members on the panel. But the process doesn’t end there…

Each agency that submitted an application for funding will also give a scheduled presentation to all of the members of the appropriate panel. It is then up to the panel to rate the programs based on key criteria - Community Need, Financial Need, Program Results, and United Way Participation & Collaboration from the program. All of the members scored ratings are put together and that is the basis for determining how the funds should be allocated.

The final step is for the three panels to sit together as the whole CRC and evaluate what each panel recommended for funding. I must say, this is the difficult part. Every program does a phenomenal job of putting together applications and presentations, but the reality of the situation is that there is always more requested than what is available. And this is why the rating system is important, because we ultimately decide to allocate funds where they are needed the most and will provide the most value to the community.

This is my second year serving on the CRC, and it truly has been a great experience. The whole process has awakened me to some of the pressing needs in the community. But it has also proven how powerful we can be when we band together and commit to making a difference. We win together when we LIVE UNITED.


Mitchell Irlmeier

CRC Volunteer


The CRC Process

The Citizen Review Committee (CRC), which is composed of 21 community volunteers, decides how much money we allocate to different community programs. Our diverse group of volunteers read through the grant applications, interviews the programs asking for United Way funds, and listens to presentations from the programs requesting United Way funds. The volunteers then rate the programs based on their goals and how well they have historically achieved their goals. Based on the grant applications, interviews, applications, and ratings, the CRC distributes the money raised during the annual fundraising campaign amongst the various programs. The CRC has a difficult job because more funds are usually requested than are available.

Our goal is to make sure the money is used effectively to help people in our community. We support agencies that are working to improve what we consider to be the building blocks of a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job, income that can support a family into retirement, and good health. Serving on the CRC awakens people to the needs in our community.