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United Way in crisis – Big affiliates gain clout

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Turmoil looms at the United Way of America in the face of a fight with its big-city affiliates that has triggered the early resignation of its chief executive, The New York Times reported Sept. 19.

Betty Beene announced Sept. 18 that she would leave her job on Jan. 31 – 11 months earlier than she had planned.

In March, under pressure from the leaders of big local United Ways that wanted her ouster, Beene had said she would leave her job in December 2001.

The dispute stems from disagreement over control of the processing of pledges to the United Way by workers at big companies.

Big local United Way affiliates run regional centers that boost their influence because they process big payroll gifts and hand out money to small United Ways and individual social service groups, the Times said.
Beene favored a national pledge-processing center that would have undercut regional operations.

But the natinal center, bult by Cap Gemini Group, the largest tech consulting firm in Europe, failed last November in its first test, the Times said.

Beene, 53, has tried to set national standards for the 1,300 local United Ways that include requiring tough and public self-scrutiny of their effectiveness every few years.

That prompted tough opposition, with some big United Ways withholding part of their dues to the national group, the Times said.

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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