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Finding a way

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Donors need to help United Way, which needs to help agencies collaborate.

By Barbara Goodmon

As it begins its annual campaign, Triangle United Way has two big jobs.

It must raise unrestricted dollars for agencies that address the toughest health and human-service problems in our community.

And it must work harder to help those agencies do a better job.

Chaired by Bob Greczyn, CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the campaign wants donors to contribute to United Way’s “community care fund.”

Dollars from that fund are used to meet priority needs United Way has defined in partnership with community volunteers and agencies.

Now it is up to donors to help United Way and its partner agencies help our most vulnerable neighbors.

And as it asks for our dollars, United Way needs to help local agencies be more efficient and effective.

Many agencies are small, and lack resources to strengthen their operations, and many overlap with other agencies.

United Way should push those agencies to find ways to work together, and even consolidate or merge.

United Way also needs to drum up community dollars and expertise to help agencies lower their costs and increase their impact.

United Way is all about strength in numbers, raising charitable dollars for many agencies, and helping them use that money to meet basic human needs.

Donors and United Way both are responsible for making a difference.

Donors need to make unrestricted gifts to the community care fund.

And United Way needs to work harder to help its partner agencies make efficient and effective use of those gifts.


Barbara Goodmon is president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which publishes the Philanthropy Journal.

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