United Way does more with lessGiving was down slightly this year. And the need in the community is greater after a global economic crisis left fewer jobs in the local economy.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Giving was down slightly this year. And the need in the community is greater after a global economic crisis left fewer jobs in the local economy.
Still, the United Way is doing more with less by making changes to have a greater impact on the community.
“There’s so many different things that went into that process this year,” said Kathi Madsen, United Way director. “There’s so many more things that we as an agency are doing.”
The agency, which provides funding for numerous nonprofit organizations that serve the community, found itself with about $8,157 less to give overall.
For the panels of citizens and United Way board that make those decisions, deciding where to cut wasn’t easy.
“It’s really an eye opener to see all the agencies out there; that was a big deal for me the first time I was on a panel,” board member Luann LaValley said. “Wow, I didn’t even know all these agencies existed and I was only on one panel.”
For some agencies, that meant a little less this year.
“The campaign came in a little down this year,” said board member Jerry Mentzel. “Even with the funding being down, we were still able to do some new things this year.”
In addition to funding 211, an information and referral services, and becoming a sponsor for Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Douglas County, the United Way board made some changes in the way it determines what agencies to fund and for how much.
Mentzel said in addition to meeting its obligation to donors, the agency was able to stay true to recommendations made by citizen panels that help guide where the money is allocated.
Donors can be assured contributions designated for certain organizations got to the agency of their choice. While those contributions always got to the designated nonprofit, the way the United Way board handled it this year changed.
Instead of putting contributions designated for a specific agency as the initial portion of the allocation the agency receives, this year the United Way gave those designated donations to the organizations over and above the board approved allocation.
“We felt that was a change we had to make, because that was something people were asking for,” LaValley said.
It’s more consistent with what the United Way of Duluth is doing things, Mentzel said.