United Way of Central Jersey
July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010
Program Investment Information
a. Community Investment Process
b. Funding Criteria: Our Priorities
2 - 3
c. Program Application Guidelines
3 - 4
d. Community Investment Initiatives
5 - 7
2. Letter of Intent
7 - 10
b. Cover Sheet
c. Applicant Agency Profile
12 - 13
3. Additional Guidelines
a. Definitions of Terms
b. Tips for Submitting Proposals
14 - 15
a. Letters of Intent: United Way of Central Jersey will accept
Letters of Intent, in essence three page concept papers from prospective applicants.
Details on the purpose and description of Letter of Intent can be found on pages
8-16. The Letter of Intent will assess the degree to which programs align with United
Way community investment initiatives, incorporate evidence based research and results
b. Funding Criteria: Our Priorities
In developing the design, process and structure for the July 1, 2009 – June
30, 2010 investment cycle, United Way of Central Jersey has adopted an approach
that reflects our United Way’s focus upon community impact and results, outcomes,
measurement and achievement. United Way of Central Jersey will prioritize the funding
of program initiatives in our three community investment initiatives:
Additionally, and as in prior years, the United Way of Central Jersey will continue
to attach the highest level of priority to:
(a) services targeting children at risk and
(b) programs addressing early childhood development as well as
(c) those services in the three investment areas listed above specifically targeting
those clients who are most vulnerable, most in need, most desperate and who lack
the financial resources to secure the critical help and assistance they need. We
will consider those initiatives which focus not exclusively upon treating the symptoms,
but on addressing the underlying causes, core issues and long-term solutions that
result in lasting changes and improve lives not just for individuals but across
the larger, broader community and populace.
For greater detail and descriptive information about each of the three investment
areas, please refer to pages 5-7.
We also intend to more heavily base our funding decisions upon documentation that
programs are evidence based and/or incorporate nationally recognized best practices
and/or meet (or are clearly striving to meet) comprehensive and rigorous standards
of quality service resulting in formal accreditation (e.g. Joint Commission on Accreditation
of Healthcare Organizations, National Association for the Education of Young Children
and Council on Accreditation). Programs should have a clearly articulated evaluation
plan which details how measurable outcomes will be achieved.
United Way of Central Jersey will be considering the extent to which agencies are
engaging in collaborations and partnerships with other organizations in efforts
to identify and solve the most pressing and critical issues and problems in our
service area. Where appropriate, we would expect to see formalized inter-organizational
agreements and documentation relative to cross-referrals, joint initiatives and
There needs to be demonstration that programs are administered in a fiscally responsible
manner with direction from an active volunteer board and operated in alignment with
the agency’s mission and strategic plan. When possible, programs are strongly
encouraged to involve volunteers at all levels of planning and implementation. The
United Way of Central Jersey’s Volunteer Center is positioned to assist with
volunteer recruitment and assignment.
c. Program Application Guidelines
Letter of Intent and Full Proposal Eligibility: To be eligible to receive funding
from United Way of Central Jersey, the applicant agency must:
Be a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is conducting a health and human
service program that is meeting the needs of the people residing in Middlesex County
and Franklin Township in Somerset County
Have updated bylaws and an active Board of Directors that meets with a quorum at
least quarterly and adheres to a rotation policy which clearly specifies a period
of time members are excused from attendance and voting
Have a stated mission, vision, and strategic plan
If required by law, file a Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service annually
Have an annual audit if the agency has gross receipts of $300,000 or more; an audit
or review if the agency has gross receipts of $25,000 but less than $300,000; an
audit, review or compilation if the agency has gross receipts of less than $25,000
Subscribe to the mission of and actively support United Way of Central Jersey as
demonstrated by willingness to conform to the United Way of Central Jersey Agency
Agreement, including conducting an annual United Way campaign among Board, volunteers
Letter of Intent Review Process: A Letters of Intent Technical Assistance Workshop
will be held on June 30th from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm at the Middlesex County Fire
Academy, 1001 Fire Academy Drive, Sayreville. Representatives from prospective applicant
agencies are strongly encouraged to attend. RSVP to Patricia Desiderio by June 23rd
(email@example.com or 732-247-3727, extension 23).
Letters of Intent are due back to United Way of Central Jersey by noon on July 31,
2008. Letters of Intent will be carefully reviewed by knowledgeable members of United
Way’s resource investment committees based on the guiding principles described
herein. These volunteers will determine whether or not to request a full program
Full proposals will then be reviewed in the same manner as in previous United Way
of Central Jersey’s funding cycles (including committee reviews and site visits).
Programs to be recommended for funding will be presented to the United Way of Central
Jersey’s Board of Trustees which has final authority in all program funding
Letter of Intent Application Instructions: Specific application instructions can
be found in the Letter of Intent Submission Procedures section on page 11. It is
important to follow submission procedures since incomplete applications WILL NOT
be considered. Faxed or emailed applications WILL NOT be accepted.
Letter of Intent: Applications must be received at the United Way of Central Jersey
office (32 Ford Avenue, Milltown, NJ, 08850) no later than:
LETTER OF INTENT: 12 noon on Thursday July 31, 2008
INVITATION LETTER TO SUBMIT FULL PROPOSALS: August 28, 2008
LATE OR INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.
Community Investment Initiatives
Helping Children and Youth Achieve Their Potential
Vision: All children and youth reach their fullest potential in a safe and nurturing
Goal: Increase the capacity of children to enter school healthy and ready to learn
1. Support high quality, evidence-based early care and education
programs that have attained or are working toward accreditation (or a comparable
standard of excellence), are using best practice curricula, and provide appropriate
staff training. 2. Promote early reading through parent/child literacy programs 3. Educate parents to be advocates for and to participate in their
child’s education, recognizing that they are their child’s first teacher
and most important support system.
Goal: Improve opportunities for youth to stay and succeed in school,
to become work-ready and to develop into mature adults with a future
1. Support academic/tutoring and mentoring programs for school
age children. 2. Support programming for young adults, age 18 to 24, to successfully
transition from high school to the working world.
Promoting Financial Stability and Independence
Vision: Reduction of poverty through increased economic opportunity,
stability and self-sufficiency for all Middlesex County and Franklin Township in
Somerset County residents.
Goal: Increase the capacity of lower income working families and
individuals to move towards financial independence.
1. Support individuals through assisting in the development of
activities of daily living as well as tenancy skills, budgeting and job readiness 2. Support programs that address language barriers and illiteracy
in the community and the workplace 3. Support programming enabling individuals to take advantage of
Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and health care options 4. Support affordable and safe child care by providing greater
quality and access 5. Support vocational assessment programs as an initial step in
identifying skill development and/or training programs that will result in employment
at living wages
Goal: Increase the capacity of lower income families and individuals
to build savings as well as gain and sustain assets.
Investment Strategy: 1. Support financial literacy for all families and individuals
including asset building, credit counseling, knowledge of budgeting, personal finance,
home buyer classes, responsible tenancy, etc.
Goal: Increase the availability of permanent affordable housing.
Investment Strategies: 1. Support transitional housing services to individuals and families
2. Support the development of affordable housing opportunities
for the working poor and homeless 3. Increase the capacity of individuals and families to maintain
housing though coordinated case management
Improving People’s Health
Vision: Contribute to a healthy progression through life through
accessible and affordable high quality healthcare for all who need it on a timely
Goal: Improve maternal health and infant well being.
1. Educate parents about child development, effective parenting
skills, health and the importance of good nutrition and exercise 2. Improve birth outcomes such as birth weight, gestational period
and nutritional choices during and after pregnancy. 3. Educate parents about behaviors affecting the healthy development
of children: violence, child abuse, substance abuse, etc.
Goal: Increase access to affordable, timely, preventive and ameliorative
healthcare for uninsured and underinsured populations of all ages
1. Establish and sustain preventive measures such as early screening
and immunization delivery 2. Provide community based health services, including underserved
communities 3. Support the availability of in-home services
4. Support services that improve access to medical, nutritional
and dental care including transportation options and counseling
5. Provide free or affordable medication and medical supplies 6. Expand case management, mental health support and substance
abuse services for persons with disabilities who are most in need
7. Support user friendly mental health and substance abuse service
to diverse multi-cultural and multi-lingual populations with particular emphasis
on supporting children with challenging behaviors, seniors and persons with disabilities
Goal: Increase the number of youth and adults who are healthy and
avoid risky behaviors.
1. Teach low income parents and their children the importance of
good nutrition and exercise. 2. Promote evidence based preventative services that lead to improved
health outcomes and avoidance of risky behaviors, such as smoking, alcohol and drug
use, in youth and young adults 3. Provide nutritional information and food choices at soup kitchens,
food pantries and to the general community 4. Support individuals and families with opportunities to improve
their knowledge, networks and ability to cope
2. Letter of Intent (LOI)
a. Letter of Intent Instructions
1. Purpose: A Letter of Intent (LOI) is a short “concept
paper” no more than three pages that outlines a program’s theory of
change in response to one or more targeted investment strategies under the vision
statements listed in the three community investment areas (pages 5-7). The Letter
of Intent should detail your program’s operational plan to leverage resources
and coordinate services in order to achieve targeted community outcomes through
the selected strategies.
The Letter of Intent is the initial mechanism through which United Way seeks to
identify those programs that offer the most promise for helping to achieve the goals,
outcomes and strategies of our community investment initiatives. Following review
of the Letter of Intent, selected organizations will be invited to submit full proposals
for program funding related to the three priority vision statements.
2. Program Description: Each Letter of Intent submission packet
should include a program description that is organized such that the reviewer will
be able to follow a seamless and logical flow of information (i.e., from a broad
overview of the program to more detailed information about how it will be implemented
and evaluated). The following score values indicate the relative importance of each
evaluation criterion; however, applicants need not develop their program descriptions
precisely in the order presented. The scoring attached to each of the categorical
areas will be applied on a scale from zero to the maximum points indicated in the
Contribution to Community Investment Agenda
For the Letters of Intent, it is not necessary to go into great detail for each
category. Provide a brief description. If a Full Proposal is requested, full elaboration
for each category will be necessary at that time.
3. Contribution to the Community Investment Initiatives (35 points):
This criterion measures your program’s alignment with United Way of Central
Jersey community investment initiatives. Applicants are required to clearly and
logically describe the program and how it contributes to the community investment
agenda. This includes clearly stating your program’s theory of change and
program components, which show a clear link between program activities, strategies
and outcomes. Indicate the target population to be served, which investment strategy
will be addressed by the program, which performance measures will be used to evaluate
the program and how your chosen methods will accomplish the work and contribute
to changing lives in the community.
4. Collaboration (10 points): Collaboration is one of the key principles
of United Way’s investments in the community. Collaboration is a mutually
beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations
to achieve common goals. The relationship may include commitment to: mutual relationships
and goals; a jointly-developed structure and shared responsibility; mutual authority
and accountability for success; interagency referral protocols and agreements; and
sharing resources and rewards. Program descriptions should describe any collaborative
efforts that directly contribute to the achievement of outcome(s). Include in this
section only the ongoing, collaborative efforts that directly relate to program
5. Program Effectiveness (35 points): United Way is interested
in funding programs that are based on sound evidence and utilize an evaluation plan.
We are also interested in funding programs from agencies that have had experience
using research and evidence-based practices to design and implement programs and
that have the ability to evaluate through outcome measurement. Program descriptions
should clearly cite the research or evidence that indicates the proposed strategies
will be effective in accomplishing performance measures.
6. Organization Capacity (10 points): Applicants should explain
what elements of their organization uniquely qualify them to carry out the program.
Because United Way has a finite amount of resources to invest, United Way is keenly
interested in funding programs from organizations that can leverage other resources
(i.e. money, time, talent, and knowledge) for this work. Examples might include
the organization’s capabilities to attract other funding, recruit and use
volunteers for service, minimize overhead costs, obtain technical assistance and
shared staff expertise.
Organizations should demonstrate a history of sound management practices, including
fiscal, information management, human resources, quality improvement, accreditation/licensing,
Board development, fundraising and strategic planning. Strategies and program goals
should be consistent with the mission and vision of the applicant organization.
Letter of Intent should describe how the program fits with the mission of the organization.
We are also interested in funding programs in which the organization has a unique
capacity to produce results through relatively low-cost projects. This may include
programs that propose strategies to enlist and deploy the talents, time and energies
of citizens, including residents of geographic areas which the program serves and/or
clients of the programs.
7. Creativity/Innovation (10 points): United Way will fund programs
that utilize resources creatively and demonstrate that the organization has thoroughly
researched, assessed and planned the program with fresh ideas and solutions. This
criterion reflects the need to “think outside the box” in solving our
community’s most pressing needs in new and/or more effective ways by acting
together and not in competition with one another.
8. Review Procedures: United Way will not establish a minimum score
or “cut-off point” for review of applicants. Rather, the review score
will be used to evaluate Letters of Intent within the context of United Way’s
expectations for community change.
Determination as to whether to invite a full program proposal will be based upon
the extent to which the Letter of Intent addresses a high priority need in any of
the three investment areas. Other relevant considerations include current program
compliance status, demonstration of best practices and collaboration with other
United Way may elect not to advance or fund any applicants with known management,
fiscal, reporting, program, or other issues that make it unlikely that they would
be able to provide effective and efficient services.
All funding decisions are made at the discretion of the United Way of Central Jersey
Board of Trustees based on the recommendation of the Community Needs Committee.
United Way of Central Jersey reserves the right to reject any and all programs,
in part or in whole, to negotiate with applicant(s) and to award funding to those
programs deemed most likely to contribute to the success of the community investment
agenda, i.e. to change lives.
9. Funding: Funding agreements are expected to cover the July 1,
June 30, 2010 fiscal year subject to the following:
United Way has adequate available resources
Program fulfills contractual requirements
Program makes satisfactory progress in implementing and reporting outcomes.
10. Monitoring Expectations: As in previous funding cycles, Financial
Reports and Program Reports (Outcome Chart) must be submitted in January (July 1
– December 31) and July (January 1 – June 30). These submissions are
crucial not only for continued funding, but will be used to evaluate program effectiveness
in forthcoming funding cycles.
11. Letter of Intent Submission Procedures: Each Letter of Intent
will be evaluated to determine the applicant organization’s eligibility and
appropriateness and to assess the potential of the program to effectively respond
to our priority needs and outcomes. Following review, selected organizations will
be invited to submit a full formal proposal. The Letter of Intent must include the
Organization Profile, including Eligibility Checklist
Program Description Narrative
The forms for these first three items are included in this packet.
Submit TEN COPIES of each Letter of Intent packet. Unless otherwise specified, use
8 ½” x 11” white paper. Submissions must be typed using size
12 point font and 1” margins. Do not bind or put in folders. Please staple
or clip appropriate papers in the top left corner.
The completed Letter of Intent packet can be submitted via mail or by hand-delivery
Jessica Polizzotto, Director
United Way of Central Jersey
32 Ford Avenue
Milltown, NJ 08850
United Way of Central Jersey will NOT accept Letters of Intent that are emailed,
faxed, incomplete or late
Letters of Intent are due to UWCJ no later than 12 noon, Friday, July 31, 2008
Theory of Change – Your assumptions or hypotheses about why particular strategies
are chosen and how you will achieve your objectives, often framed in “if-then”
statements. Theories of change start with a goal rather than a program and explain
why the things you do should produce the results you intend. They allow you to explain
how and why success is achieved and to document what worked and what did not.
b. Tips for Submitting Proposals and Letters of Intent
We hope these suggestions will assist you in developing an effective proposal.
Write the proposal for a reader who is not necessarily familiar with the specifics
of your program but one who is knowledgeable about the community, health and human
services within this community, and the target population you are serving.
Respond to questions succinctly yet completely. It is a difficult balance between
too much and too little information. We recognize that each program is different
and thus may have different needs for explanation and clarification.
Coordinate preparation. If more than one person is preparing the report, make sure
they work closely together. (i.e., the Finance Department should prepare a budget
that corresponds directly to the program plans and investment request described
in the narrative by the Program Director.)
Recruit an independent reader. Ask someone who has not been working on the proposal
to read it for you. Does the information provided give a complete picture of the
program? Are all items answered completely? Does the reader come away with unanswered
questions? Do the responses in the various sections complement and correspond to
one another? Is there consistency of information throughout the proposal?
Put your best foot forward. It is our practice to give proposals to the community
investment committees exactly as they are submitted. Although a computer spell check
and grammar review is always helpful, it does not correct all mistakes. Make sure
that the writing flows smoothly and makes sense. Ensure that all pages and related
documents are included and are in the appropriate order.
Treat each proposal as unique. If more than one proposal is being submitted by the
same organization, please ensure that each proposal is distinct and clearly reflective
of that individual program. Be judicious with information that is “cut and
pasted” from one proposal to another – it may detract from the readability
and make it more difficult to distinguish the merits of one program from another.
It is likely that different volunteers will read each proposal, so do not assume
they will have the knowledge of other proposals you have submitted.