Community Investment

United Way of the Ozarks believes the best way to strengthen our community is by bringing people and resources together to effect long-lasting changes that improve lives. 

Our new Community Investment strategy does just that.

OPENING DOORS FOR CHANGE

United Way of the Ozarks funds programs, not nonprofits. For years, we funded the same set of programs. We saw the need to modernize our approach in order to consider other, well-deserving programs.  

The change to the process allows United Way of the Ozarks to fund programs that were not considered in the past. All applicants are now on a level playing field.  

TAKING A SYSTEMIC APPROACH

We are placing a greater emphasis on directing resources “upstream” toward root causes of social issues. This focus will help knock down the barriers to education, workforce training and jobs.  

The real impact will occur when we all do our part. Our collective investment will “move the needle” on key community issues and improve the opportunity for individuals and families to become self-sufficient. 

MAXIMIZING FUNDS

Our new Community Investment strategy maximizes undesignated funds collected during the annual fundraising campaign to support programs that focus on: 


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Long-term plans designed to address “upstream,” root causes of social issues. 
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Short-term strategies that provide “safety net” services to families in crisis. 
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New, innovative approaches to address community needs and emerging challenges. 

MAKING THE BIGGEST IMPACT
United Way invests in programs that focus on the health, education and financial stability needs of our community. The Community Investment funding mix directs undesignated donations collected during the annual fundraising campaign to one of three focus areas: 

LEADING CHANGE THROUGH DONOR VOLUNTEERS

    Our Community Investment Committee works to make donor dollars go further. The 12-member committee is comprised of donor volunteers from the 14-county service area. They are committed to strategic approach of allocating funds that address the priority goals set by the United Way of the Ozarks Board of DirectorsMembers of the committee serve on one of three panels: Upstream, Safety Net or Innovation.  

    United Way of the Ozarks Community Investment Committee 2021-2022

    Stephanie Weis │ BKD, LLP
    Cindy Norman│ American National Insurance
    Rhonda Day │ Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.
    David Pennington │ City of Springfield
    Meredith Roberts │ Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.
    Katelynn Couch │ Commerce Bank
    Missy Forgey │ Commerce Bank
    Renee Vines │ Vines Account and Consulting, LLC
    Brandie Fisher │ City Utilities of Springfield
    Amy Carr │ Jordan Valley Community Health Center
    Matt Aug │ CoxHealth Plans
    Jason Regehr │ City Utilities of Springfield

    Please see the Community Investment Panelist Job Description 2022 for more information on requirements and expectations.

    Community Investment Panels
    Get Involved 

    To learn more about furthering United Way’s Community Investment strategy and serving on a CI panel, please contact:

    Kimberley Lippelman-Nash
    Director of Administration

    [email protected] 

    417-863-7700, ext. 222