Right now, United Way’s outcomes measurement dashboard, “Impact United,” touts the direct and profound impact being made in our community by 88 nonprofit organizations. These 88 partners are accredited with United Way, which means they demonstrate best practices in tackling poverty and are meeting the ever-changing needs of the neighbors they serve.

We are proud to call these fiscally strong and outcome-driven organizations our United Way family. We have the “veterans” of accreditation – organizations such as the YMCA, Salvation Army, Flanner House and Little Red Door Cancer Agency – who have been affiliated with United Way for decades. We have newer accredited organizations, like Family Promise in Hendricks County, Indy Reads and TeenWorks, which joined us just a few years ago. This big family of 88 partners is working tirelessly to fulfill their missions while helping United Way achieve measurable outcomes in poverty alleviation.

However, current data indicates we are missing some folks at the table. We are in need of additional partners to fill service and geographic gaps in our communities.

So this year, United Way is opening the application for accreditation to organizations who specialize in adult/youth employment, education credentialing and basic needs services in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Morgan and Putnam counties. Similarly in Marion County, we have targeted zip codes where the need is greater for workforce development, credentialing, and safe and affordable housing services.

Once we receive applications by February 23, our team of board members, staff and volunteers will visit these sites and get to know these potential partners. We will evaluate them on financial health, governance, strategy, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. In turn, these nonprofits will learn more about the key benefits to joining United Way’s network, which include access to grant funding, training and resources, and technical assistance to grow their organizations. By the summer, we hope to name our newest members to the list of United Way accredited partners.

As the youngest of eight children, I know firsthand the benefits of a big family. The Payne kids utilized our individual strengths, learned how to work together, and supported one another. That sounds very much like the accredited organizations that make up and strengthen United Way. And as our family continues to grow, we will be proud to update our Impact United dashboard over time with the outcomes of their impactful work in our community.

Fred Payne