Funding cuts

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — United Way of Greater Greensboro is reducing its community funding nearly 5 percent this year after its annual drive last year fell 3 percent short of its goal.

Community investment for 66 local programs this year will total $8.5 million, down from nearly $9 million last year.

While funding this year will be within 2.5 percent of last year’s totals for 16 of those programs, other programs will take deeper cuts.

Funding for the Sickle Cell Disease Association, for example, is down nearly 7.1 percent to $172,326, while funding for United Child Development Services will fall nearly 6.2 percent to $426,308.

Neil Belenky, president and chief professional officer, says United Way itself last year eliminated an administrative position, and this year did not fill two vacant jobs for roughly a year, including vice president for community investment and a fundraising position.

Any new spending, he says, has aimed to strengthen the fund drive.

In addition to continuing new efforts begun last year to enlist more African-American donors and recruit donors under age 40 who give $1,000 or more, he says, United Way this year will create a giving society for people who can give $2,500 to $9,999, and try to recruit more donors from the professional and medical communities.

The Africa-American Leadership Giving Initiative has generated $40,000 in new gifts and recruited 133 donors who gave at least $1,000, including 82 who gave at that level for the first time.

This year, the initiative plans to track the impact on African Americans of needs that United Way is assessing in the community overall, says Nicole Beatty, leadership development specialist for United Way.

Once United Way determines those priority community needs based on an assessment it conducted last fall, she says, the initiative will hold “town meetings” for African Americans to talk about how those issues affect their lives.

The initiative also will work to increase its donor base in the workplace, and through black organizations and black churches, Beatty says.

“We’re also trying to push volunteerism along with the donations,” she says. “It’s very important to help donors see the impact their gift makes.”

The initiative is co-chaired by Michael McKinney, associate vice president for institutional advancement at Bennett, and community volunteer Althea Truesdale, both members of the United Way board of directors.

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