Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

United Way Cuts to Set off a Local Spiral; Organizations Who Rely on the Group Will Be Hurt, Too, by Reductions

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

United Way Cuts to Set off a Local Spiral; Organizations Who Rely on the Group Will Be Hurt, Too, by Reductions

Article excerpt

Byline: DEIRDRE CONNER

As funding crumbles from every sector, nonprofit agencies all over Northeast Florida are scrambling to shore up their budgets.

Charities, most dependent on a combination of private grants, fundraisers, individual donations and government grants, just learned of tiered reductions from the United Way of Northeast Florida. Most are also seeing donations fall and anticipating big cuts in the money they receive from the city and state.

For the fiscal year that started July 1, the United Way invested $18.6 million in programs - mainly to serve the elderly, the poor, people with disabilities and children and teenagers - run by its partner agencies. That was down about 9 percent from the previous year; the agency saw a decrease in large gifts and donations from employees of financial companies.

The loss was partially offset by $1.7 million in new donations, so the agency did not suffer as much as other United Ways nationwide, local President Connie Hodges said. And it used reserve money to fund programs that provide basic needs for the poor.

Still, a board of volunteers spent thousands of hours trying to figure out the best way to distribute the money instead of doing a blind, across-the-board cut, Hodges said. The criteria left funding stable for critical needs such as homeless shelters and the Second Harvest Food Bank, as well as for long-term initiatives such as early childhood education and senior health and independence.

Hodges said the agency was brainstorming and stepping up efforts for the upcoming donation campaign in the fall.

Among the agencies feeling the pain is The Arc Jacksonville, whose Triumph Industries program is supported by the United Way. There, about 400 people with developmental disabilities are able to work - packing products for companies such as Vistakon - and earn a small paycheck, and potentially "graduate" into a job in the community.

Because of cuts by the state, the Hope Fund and, potentially, the city, participants in Arc programs now sit at home because they can't get transportation, said Cara Bowyer, assistant executive director. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.