United Way of Greater Toledo investment down from last yearWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
The United Way of Greater Toledo will invest $11.8 million in programs throughout Lucas, Wood and Ottawa counties during its 2013-14 fiscal season. This is down from $12.9 million last year.
$9.3 million will be directed toward graduating students by targeting education, income and health, according to a news release. That amount was $8.6 million last year.
Karen Mathison, CEO and president, said $868,000 less is being spent in the community and the local United Way will make cuts of about $600,000 internally. This means six staff positions are being eliminated or not being filled and technology upgrades and training are being put off.
The cuts are a result of the board’s decision to take a 5 percent payout from its strategic reserve fund instead of 10 or 12 percent like it’s done in recent years, Mathison said.
“If you think about your savings account, if you have a $100 in there and every year, you take $10 out, at some point, it’s gone. So we’re using less of our reserve fund to help off-set and do more community programming, but it’s more sustainable for us in the future,” she said.
Mathison said she has been meeting with community organizations to discuss the budget the past couple days. She said the organizations have appreciated meeting face to face and engaged in “rich dialogue.”
The local American Red Cross is one affected organization. It received $601,878, which is a 9 percent decrease from last year. However, it was expecting a 16 percent cut, according to a release. The four homeless shelters that the United Way helps support, Family House, St. Paul’s Community Center, the Aurora House and Catholic Charities, each received 5 percent in cuts, Mathison said.
Programs that received funding last year, but won’t next year are the Northwest Ohio Developmental Agency’s Individual Development Account program, WGTE’s First Book program, Ottawa County Family & Children First Council’s Family Preservation Program, Vanguard-Sentinel Adult Career Center’s V-S-GED testing contract and Wood County Health Department’s personal care contract.
Mathison said the United Way began telling organizations about the potential cuts in January to give them time to prepare.
The United Way board of trustees decided on the budget based on assessments from community volunteers and approved the new budget, which takes effect July 1, on May 15.
For more information, visit www.unitedwaytoledo.org/communityinvestments.