United Way to fall short of goalPublished 10:19am Friday, December 13, 2013
Officials with the United Way of Freeborn County said this week they project to fall short of their $696,000 campaign goal.
As of Thursday, the organization had raised $434,000, said Executive Director Ann Austin. She said she will be thankful if it reaches $600,000 before the Dec. 31 deadline.
“Many programs asked for a significant increase in funding for 2014,” Austin said. “We knew it would be a challenge to raise the funds this year, and unfortunately several of our larger campaigns have seen a decline.”
The most the organization has ever raised was $630,000 last year.
“We’re going to have to make some hard decisions,” she said. “We rely on community support, but if the community is struggling to raise the funds, we obviously can’t give them out,” she said.
She said there are several reasons why she thinks fundraising is down. Though the economy has shown some signs of recovery, many businesses are still facing challenges and have had to lay off employees. There have been mergers and some businesses have been sold, sending employees and sometimes ownership out of the area.
“We have been very thankful to maintain strong relationships with local businesses and community members,” she said. “Many workplace campaigns have increased this year and people continue to give, but it will not be enough to make up for the shortfall.”
Members of the United Way allocations committee will meet Jan. 14. to review the requests for funding from its partner agencies based off of how much money was donated. The committee will look at which agencies provide essential services, which groups are collaborating with other agencies and how to address some of the bigger issues the community is facing.
In late January or early February, the board will notify the agencies how much money they will receive.
“It’s never easy to make these kinds of decisions,” she said. “It’s a challenging year financially, but it doesn’t mean that the programs or efforts on our part will stop helping people as best as we can.”
She said she is not disappointed with the support the United Way has received from the community.
“The community is a wonderful community, and wonderfully giving,” Austin said. “We’re just very thankful we can support what we can.”
People can donate through the end of the year.
The United Way of Freeborn County is at 341 S. Broadway and can be reached at 373-8670.
Austin said of the funds donated, 98 percent stays local, 1 percent goes to other communities and 1 percent goes to membership to the United Way worldwide.
Of the 98 percent, 11 percent goes to overhead costs. The organization helps 29 local programs.