The Franklin County Area United Way will host the first of two agency tours later this month so donors can see firsthand how their contributions improve lives.

The tour will take place Thursday, May 16, beginning at 8 a.m. at the United Way office, 301 W. Front St. in Downtown Washington.

Coffee and pastries will be served and then participants will board OATS buses which will transport them to three agencies — Catholic Family Services, Grace’s Place and the Washington Senior Center.

OATS also is a United Way agency.

Representatives of the United Way’s Top 30 corporate donors, board members and agency representatives are all invited to attend.

“The tour is a great way for people to see up-close and in person exactly what United Way does for people in the Franklin County area,” said Kim Strubberg, incoming executive director.

“Each agency will explain the important role the donations play in carrying out the mission of their organization, the difference each donation makes in the lives of their clients and how they strengthen our communities,” she said.

A second tour is planned for later this summer — Thursday, July 18.

“It’s really a great event,” said Strubberg, who encourages people to participate, even if they have done so in the past.

“We try to go to different agencies each year, and it’s always very informative and eye-opening,” she said.

The 2013 United Way drive will kick off in early September.

The United Way provides funding to 46 agencies and programs that serve Franklin County and the surrounding area.

After an extended campaign, the United Way raised $1 million in the 2012 drive.