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Community Investment (CI) Volunteers are an essential part of distributing United Way Community Fund dollars back into the community. CI Volunteers are trained by United Way to review funding requests, visit local agencies, analyze program outcomes, and make funding recommendations to United Way’s Board of Directors. With the help of dedicated Community Investment Volunteers, United Way can ensure that Community Fund dollars go to agencies that will make the most significant impact in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties.

What is the commitment?

March 12-June 6

10 Weeks

4 Hours

Per week

Panel Meetings

& Site Visits

Volunteers indicate a specific impact area they are interested in reviewing – these include categories like Safety Net and Upward Mobility priorities of Quality, Affordable Childcare, Ready & Resilient Workforce, Financially Empowered Families, and Safe & Stable Housing programs.

Each Impact Panel will meet once a week for 10 weeks to review applications and discuss questions with nonprofit management teams and United Way staff. Additional opportunities for site visits will be available where relevant.

Impact Panel meetings are each week beginning March 12 until June 6, 2024.

In-person weekly application reviews and agency interviews will be hosted at United Way offices throughout the four-county service region; however, virtual participation options are available to all volunteers.

We’re looking for someone who:

  • Is committed to United Way’s mission to improve lives
  • Is interested in the Community Investments process and how our funds are distributed
  • Would like to be an integral part of helping United Way make informed decisions to direct Community Fund dollars to local nonprofits/agencies
  • Has the ability to work as a team to make objective decisions based on community need and program performance
  • Can make the necessary time and travel commitments, which typically involve 4 hours per week of volunteer time for a 10-week period

What is the Community Fund?

The Community Fund supports nonprofit programs, provides direct assistance to people, and connects volunteers to causes that strengthen our community.  It is a major source of funding for programs and services in our area that address critical needs like providing pathways for upward mobility and supporting safety net programs and services. Through this fund, United Way invests in local needs focused on providing quality and affordable childcare, preparing a ready and resilient workforce, financially empowering families, and securing safe and stable housing.

How does the Process Work?


Raise Funds

United Way fundraises for the Community Fund throughout the year from donors across the community to help support nonprofit programs.


Volunteer Orientation and Training

Individuals are trained and given everything they need to understand agency funding requests and community needs.


Application Evaluations

United Way Community Investment Volunteers review funding requests from applicant agencies, including budgets, financial statements, and program outcomes and meet to discuss funding recommendations.


Site Visits

Volunteers conduct site visits to local applicant agencies to see first-hand the impact of proposed United Way funding.


Funding Decisions

Volunteers work with United Way staff to allocate specific funds to agencies that are deemed to have the most beneficial impacts on the community. Volunteers then present funding recommendations to United Way’s Board of Directors.


Year-Round Investment Support

United Way reviews agency progress reports and provides ongoing training and technical assistance to help agencies build program capacity to deliver the best results for the community.

Why become a volunteer?

“The opportunity to serve as a Community Investment Volunteer was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! It was like a buffet of knowledge and information from some of the best nonprofit programs in the region. It was exciting to know that together we’re making a difference in our community.”

– Richard Hayes

“My personal, professional, and spiritual growth was inspired and supported by a diverse group of people, who gave of their time, talent, and resources. This process is how a community connects, grows, and sustains individuals and families. The opportunity to serve as a Community Investment Volunteer at United Way allows me to pay it forward and give back. The more we give, the more it comes back to us! ”

– Elsie W. Smalls, PhD, MBA 

“I often felt that I should be doing more to help my community, but I didn’t know what to do, where to start, how my skills could make a meaningful difference to those who are trying to improve. United Way brings people together to pool their talents to help improve lives in our community.”

– Kelly Crosby

“I’m in awe of the dedication of so many people who devote their energies to enrich our community.”

– Allen Berger


Sarah Jones

“This opportunity to serve on the investment panel allows me to work and fulfill my philanthropic passion,” Sarah said. “What I didn’t really understand before my experience with United Way was all of the much smaller agencies that may assist a much smaller group of individuals but have a tremendous impact on their lives.”

Interested in getting involved?

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