The United Way of Allegheny County announced it will spend $538,000 in its first round of funding for a new program aimed at supporting women in crisis.
The new program, United For Women, offers short-term assistance to women who face significant financial roadblocks, said Bob Nelkin, president of the United Way of Allegheny County.
Among the groups that will receive the first round of United for Women funding are The Female Veterans Project at $113,000, South Hills Interfaith Ministries at $150,000 and Jewish Family & Children's Services at $100,000.
"We look for the top human service agencies -- the ones that are well managed by an executive and well managed by a volunteer board," Mr. Nelkin said. "Good intentions are not enough."
The United Way of Allegheny County posted about $33 million in donations for 2012 -- a 2.7 percent increase over the previous year that was fueled partly by an increase in donations from women who gave more than $1,000.
United for Women generated about $700,000 through late May and Mr. Nelkin hopes to announce that they have reached their $1 million goal in September.
Also announced were the recipients of nearly $2.4 million that will fund programs designed to support children and youth.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pa. topped the list at $440,000, which will help fund a program designed to give roughly 450 students in grades six through 12 money management and career readiness skills and a separate program aimed at increasing proficiency in reading and math.
But even though the Boys & Girls Clubs have been long-standing recipients of United Way funding, most important is the recognition that the funding confers, said Mike Hepler, president of the organization.
"It is a symbol that is highly regarded," said Mr. Hepler, referring to the award for excellence in human services that is given to all organizations included in this round of funding.
Mr. Hepler added that being a recipient of United Way funding often snowballs into increased donations.
"When charitable people are looking at where they want to invest their dollars, they're looking for something like a good housekeeping seal of approval," Mr. Nelkin said. "They don't want to do all of that homework themselves."
Alex Zimmerman: email@example.com or 412-263-3909 or on Twitter @AGZimmerman