Once a year, the United Way of Ellis County facilitates the CARE Council process for allocation distribution from three funding sources: the United Way of Ellis County, City of Hays and Ellis County.

The CARE Council was established in 1992 and the process has evolved over the past 26 years. The three funding sources each appoint four representatives to the council. They are divided into four teams with three members each. The current chair of the council is a member of the Board of Directors of United Way of Ellis County.

The chair works with the four teams of volunteers to ensure the process is consistent among the teams. They review applications in the focus areas of children and youth, community and neighborhood, family and individual, and health and rehabilitation programs. The teams meet with each agency it reviews to ask additional questions regarding funding requests. Each team makes a funding recommendation for each program it reviews.

In 2009, the United Way of Ellis County went to program funding. Instead of making one allocation to the agency’s general fund, the funds were distributed to the programs offered by the agency. This process was used to make funding recommendations for Social Service Funds.

The CARE Council application does require each program to have identified outcomes that includes a change in the knowledge, behavior, attitudes and beliefs of the individuals in the program. The agency must also have a process to measure progress toward achieving those outcomes.

The agencies continue refining their outcomes and their measurement tools. The CARE Council recommends funding for programs that have an impact on the quality of life in Ellis County. Every agency requesting Social Service Funding through the City of Hays must justify to the council how funding for services will offset municipal services. Allocation funds that are distributed through Ellis County are for those agencies that provide resources/services in alcohol drug rehabilitation.

The length of volunteer time will be through most of the month in January with limited volunteer time in February. Those interested in being involved, contact the United Way office at 785-628-8281.