About Progress 2016
The titles and rankings seem to come in droves each year.
From health and wealth to education and youth, most Forsyth residents know the county is at the forefront of north Georgia and the state in various factors that help shape quality of life.
These factors — which residents embrace and have come to expect — carry their share of numbers. Indeed, politicians and others are fond of touting such statistics.
With that in mind, the staff of the Forsyth County News contacted government and school officials, business owners and pub-lic safety personnel to compile some interesting and easy-to-read figures from the past year.
United Way of Forsyth County's funding by impact area
Financial stability: $36,018 (1,048 Lives)
Basic needs: $211,366 (24,254 Lives)
Health: $269,193 (16,092 Lives)
Education: $688,594 (30,239 Lives)
Donor designations made outside Forsyth County: $21,371
Total investment: $1,226,542
To see the entire Progress 2016 section, click here.
The year 2015 brought together nearly 5,000 investors to support more than 60 nonprofit organizations and programs that provided direct services to residents throughout Forsyth and Dawson counties.
Their investment of $1.226 million created more opportunities in the impact areas of education, financial stability, health and basic needs. All of these areas play a key role in building a good, quality life
In 2014, United Way of Forsyth County began the planning stages of its new strategic plan to expand community impact focus.
Throughout 2015, United Way started working with community partners — nonprofits, the school system, local government, churches and community volunteers — to identify the root causes of problems that face our community.
It then began collaborating on ways to create long-term, sustainable solutions
In the basic needs impact area, a need was identified for “resource sharing” between nonprofit partners within the community
Through an online program called Charity Tracker, the school system, nonprofits, churches, etc. can share information about any resources available to help individuals or families
Food, one of the most basic needs, continued to be addressed. With the help of 660 community volunteers from local corporations, small businesses, civic clubs, schools and churches, 100,000 dried, ready-to-eat meals were packaged for distribution to 10 local food pantries through the 14th Annual Day of Caring.
Volunteers also participated in projects at local nonprofits throughout Forsyth County.
In May 2015, United Way also joined with the Cumming Post Office for the 23rd Annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, which collected 20,000 pounds of food that was distributed to 15 food pantries in the county.
Initiatives within the financial stability impact area saw an increase in activity. In partnership with the AARP Tax Aide Foundation, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides free income tax assistance to assist low- to moderate-income families (those earning $54,000 or less) and those individuals 60 years and older.
Last year, 102 tax returns were prepared, refunding more than $92,700 to taxpayers and deterring the preparation costs that can take a bite out of the income they need to support themselves and their families.
United Way’s Workforce Housing Committee has also moved forward with its work, advocating for affordable housing options for teachers, firefighters, police officers and other employees in the community.
Under the education impact area, a Mentoring & Tutoring Committee was formed to identify areas where it could work to increase the number of mentors and tutors for academically at-risk students.
After some discussion and research, the committee decided that for many high school students, tutoring outside of school hours was not an option due to transportation barriers.
Knowing that extra instructional time provides students the opportunity to catch-up or stay on track to graduate on-time, the committee came up with the idea of having a “late bus” for students at North Forsyth High School.
By providing this transportation alternative, students would be able to get extra instructional time, allow them to attend club meetings, participate in sporting activities, ROTC, etc.
Now known as the “Raider Ride,” an average of 14 students are taking advantage of the program on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
In 2015, with the help of Publix Super Markets, local businesses, churches and community organizations, United Way’s Stuff the Bus event collected more than 46,000 school supply items during the months of June and July. These items benefit children and youth in Forsyth County Schools.
United Way of Forsyth County is continuing this work in 2016 and is also moving forward with identifying needs within the health impact area.
Last year, United Way became the fiscal agent for a federal grant the Forsyth County Drug Awareness Council received.
This program is committed to educating, advocating and empowering the community to prevent substance abuse across the life-span in Forsyth County.
Through the 7th Annual Give Kids A Smile Day, 75 children received dental services from three dental practices volunteering to help the children and youth who were in need of services.
United Way’s mission is to improve lives in the community by mobilizing the caring power and spirit of residents.
The organization does this by bringing together donors, volunteers, community leaders, large and small businesses and many others to find ways to meet the most crucial needs.
By coming together, they were able to make a significant impact on the lives of more than 71,600 Forsyth and Dawson County residents in 2015.
Thank you to everyone who continues to give back to this great community we call Cumming and Forsyth County through United Way. Your time, financial resources and sheer dedication make it the best place in Georgia where all people have the opportunity to engage, thrive and achieve a better quality of life.