After a hard-fought fund-raising campaign, the Franklin County Area United Way will now begin distributing funds to 51 agencies and programs in the community.

The United Way board of directors this month approved $791,000 in allocations to be distributed in 2013, according to Kim Strubberg, program coordinator.

Strubberg said a total of 54 applications for funding were received totaling $1,039,587.

“Although we wish we could fully fund every request, we are still very pleased to be distributing nearly $800,000,” she said.

The 2012 United Way campaign, which ended in November, brought in $969,709.

For the fifth year in a row, funding preferences were given to United Way agencies and programs that provide emergency assistance with rent, utilities, food and clothing, Strubberg noted.

New Agencies

Two new agencies also will receive funding this year — Grace’s Place and Gateway Education and Therapy.

Grace’s Place is a crisis nursery for infants to children 12 years of age located in Washington. It is a safe, secure place where children can receive care at no cost when a family is experiencing a crisis.

A crisis could include childcare loss or care that is untrustworthy, job loss or job searching, medical or psychological treatment, drug or alcohol counseling, relationship issues, extreme anger or stress — anything that puts children in danger or at risk.

Gateway Education and Therapy, Union, is an organization that provides individualized services to children with special needs. Children can receive private speech and language therapy and tutoring, behavioral therapy, as well as group classes that promote life skills such as social skills and self-control.

Gateway is the only agency in Franklin County that provides speech, language and behavioral therapy to children with developmental disabilities.

Review Applications

Strubberg said a committee made up of current and past board members, as well as staff, reviewed all of the applications and presented its recommendations to the full board for approval.

“It typically takes two meetings to go over all of the applications, but this year we had three,” she said. “We try to be very mindful of how the money is allocated and really take our time going through applications.

“Some agencies received less than in previous years and about 11 actually received increases based on need,” Strubberg added.

In 2012, over 70,000 people in 34 Franklin County area communities received health and human services from 49 agencies and programs funded by United Way.

“In the coming year, 51 agencies and programs will receive funding to provide services that will strengthen families, nurture children, assist the elderly and disabled, and help many people survive emergencies and life crises,” Strubberg said.

For 60 years, the Franklin County Area United Way has been working hard to build better communities in Franklin County, she said, and the agencies and programs supported by United Way funding are the strong foundations on which our communities can thrive and grow.