United Way of Southern Kentucky will invest $508,500 in education, health, income and safety net programs and services in Warren County for its July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, funding period, the agency said Thursday.

Education programs received the most funding at $254,250. The Family Enrichment Center Wee Care Child Care Center and Foundry Christian Community Center Preschool Academy received the highest individual investments at $50,000 each.

“That amount of money is huge,” Family Enrichment Center Executive Nickie Jones said. “The reality is that money given by United Way goes to paying our workers. What we have seen with COVID-19 is a huge focus on child care. Without their support, our child care would go away.”

To receive United Way funding, programs had to align with the four areas deemed most important by a community research project conducted by United Way. Those areas were education, income, health and safety net.

Elsewhere in the area of education, the WROTE Foundation Bridging the Gap After-School/Summer Enrichment Program received $45,000, the Boys & Girls Club of Bowling Green The CLUB Teen Center received $24,700 and the Family Enrichment Center Parents as Teachers In-Home Parent Education received $24,550.

The Barren River District Health Department HANDS Program, the Down Syndrome of Southcentral Kentucky I Can! Early Literacy and Kindergarten Readiness program, the Warren County Public Schools Little Learners Mobile Classroom, Bowling Green High School’s Transition Readiness program, Junior Achievement of Southcentral Kentucky: Essential Skills Initiative – Preparing At-Risk Youth for Success, and Warren County Schools’ College/Career Transition Readiness: Connect Students to Success program received investments ranging from $18,000 to $5,000.

The area of health saw the next largest investment from United Way with a total of $132,210.

The programs in health that were given the largest investments were the BRASS Emergency Shelter & Crisis to Protect & Empower and the Kentucky Legal Aid Emergency Shelter & Crisis Aid to Protect & Empower. Both programs received $22,000.

Safety net programs received the next highest investment, which was a total of $101,700. The largest investments in this area went to Kentucky Legal Aid Emergency Legal Assistance ($25,000) and HOTEL INC homeless and housing services ($22,500).

The area of income saw a total investment of $20,340, which was split between two programs: Refuge Bowling Green Hand Up, Hand Back ($14,340) and the SKYCTC Foundation CDL ($6,000).

“It is so exciting to see the impact and movement forward being made, particularly in kindergarten readiness and college and career readiness,” Debbie Hills, president and chief executive of United Way of Southern Kentucky, said in a news release. “The investments we are making now are changing the course of our community for the future.”

In September 2019, organizations with programs impacting United Way’s strategic imperatives in each of the defined issue areas were asked to submit letters of intent indicating their desire to complete a full application request for funding.

Across the region, 74 total letters of intent were submitted requesting $2,116,743 in funding. Upon review by the Letter of Intent Committee, 68 of those submitted were invited to complete the full application across the 10-county BRADD region.

In March 2020, Warren County-specific programs that had the opportunity to complete the full application moved forward to a full application review and virtual visit with the allocations committee. With the full review by the allocations committee and recommendation to and approval by the board of directors complete, funding will now be awarded to all the programs selected.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

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