Archive for Thursday, December 6, 2012

United Way about $900,000 short of goal; leaders to extend donation timeframe

December 6, 2012


Social service agencies throughout Douglas County may see a cutback in funding unless donations pick up significantly for the local United Way fundraising campaign.

Leaders with the United Way of Douglas County announced they only have raised about half of the campaign’s $1.8 million 2012 goal, even though the campaign officially ends on Friday.

“We’re hoping to get there, but it is really challenging times,” said Becki Dick, the United Way’s 2012 campaign chair.

The United Way will accept donations for the campaign past the original Dec. 7 deadline in an effort to reach the goal. Officials, though, conceded they are concerned with whether enough donations will come in to match the $1.7 million the campaign raised in 2011.

“I’m being optimistic about our chances of reaching $1.7 million, but it definitely will take a few more people stepping up,” said Colleen Gregoire, vice president and campaign manager for the United Way.

As of earlier this week, the 2012 campaign had raised about $925,000, Gregoire said. She said it is not unusual for the fundraising campaign to be at about the 50 percent mark at Thanksgiving, but she said to be this far from the goal this late in the campaign is unusual.

The campaign provides funding for 29 social service agencies throughout the county, ranging from the American Red Cross to the Girl Scouts to Willow Domestic Violence Center.

“It is going to be very challenging,” Dick said, if agencies end up receiving less money than they did in 2011. “There just aren’t the grants out there that there used to be. Agencies already are having to learn how to do more with less.”

Dick said some of the financial uncertainty that comes with a presidential election has perhaps slowed some giving. The last time the local United Way campaign fell short of its goal was about four years ago, but Gregoire said campaign only fell short of that goal by about two to three percent.

The organization decided to set a $1.8 million goal for 2012 because there was more need than could be met by the $1.7 million raised in 2011. If reached, the $1.8 million would be the most ever raised by the United Way in Douglas County.

This year’s fundraising campaign is the first one since the United Way began using a three-year plan that restructures how it allocates its funding to agencies.

The United Way has created three broad community goals: education, self-sufficiency and health care. Participating social service agencies are being required to show how their mission fits into at least one of the three goals, and then commit to collaborate with the other agencies in their goal group.

When the United Way used the plan earlier this year to allocate funding for agencies, some organization saw a dramatic dip in United Way funding and had to make mid-year budget adjustments as a result.

Gregoire said some of the decline in donations is probably attributable to questions donors have about the new funding philosophy.

“I think there are a few donors who were uncomfortable with the changes and decided to support their favorite agencies directly,” Gregoire said. “But I think the more they learn about the collaborative process and how it positively impacts the agencies, I think we’ll get more people to come back to the United Way campaign.”

United Way leaders have touted the new process as a way of increasing efficiency in the social service community and ensuring that agencies aren’t unnecessarily duplicating efforts.

In addition, Dick said the new approach allows the community to direct resources to attack specific community goals.

“We’re working toward systemic change,” Dick said. “It really is about much more than just plugging holes in the dike.”

People who want to donate to the United Way of Douglas County can do so online at the organization’s Web site: Donors also can call the organization at 843-6626 or stop by its offices at 2518 Ridge Court in Lawrence.

“We just want to encourage everyone to look at their year-end situation and consider a donation to United Way,” said Dick, who along with her husband owns a Baldwin City-based manufacturing company. “It helps so many people throughout Douglas County.”


skinny 5 years, 4 months ago

You can thank the City of Lawrence for part of this. Everytime I turn around they are raising the taxes or the cost of services!

MattressMan 5 years, 4 months ago

If you are going to play the blame game you need to go all the way and name everything.

County, School district, state, big oil, utilities, fed govt, etc etc etc

Maybe even people are tired of giving to the United Way, personall I'd rather people give straight to the organization of their choosing and do away with the middle man and overhead to distribute the funds.

avarom 5 years, 4 months ago

Their new name should be United Stay Away! Bunch of Fraudsters...

Clovis Sangrail 5 years, 4 months ago

I'll contribute when they boot the Boys Scouts off their list.

Just kidding. No, I won't. I quit giving to United Way years ago when I got tired of the endless stream of begging literature they subjected me to at work.

That money goes elsewhere now, to charities I have confidence in.

jj14 5 years, 4 months ago

You can tell them which charities you want your donation to go to (or NOT go to) on the donation form

George_Braziller 5 years, 4 months ago

Or just make a donation directly to the organization and bypass United Way completely.

Jeremiah Jefferson 5 years, 4 months ago

Or you could thank business owners for stagnent wages while inflation goes up. Kind of hard to give money away when you barely have enough to take care of your own family

Talia Jael 5 years, 4 months ago

Changing the way they allocate funds has certainly kept me from donating.

Clovis Sangrail 5 years, 4 months ago

"When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me." -- Emo Phillips

blindrabbit 5 years, 4 months ago

clovis- The Boy Scouts needs to be dumped before I contribute to UW again. Problems with the leadership in that organization have been known for years, but United Way is afraid of their clout. Funny how BSA is unwilling to permit homosexual scout members but yet allows predatory homosexual scout leaders to continue to operate in a very victim rich setting. Also, the BSA is supposedly steeped in Christian ideals, reminds one of the problems in the Catholic Church abusing yet hiding behind religious dogma. Feel the same way about the quasi-religious, right wing fundamentalist NRA, (not a UW member) by the way which I am still a member

Also, don't buy into the United Way blabber about "If you do not want to contribute to a particular UW recipient you can designate a particular member" Problem is the money is prorated, so in fact if you contribute to a UW recipient, you are feathering their nest as well.

oakfarm 5 years, 4 months ago

Research shows that people in red/liberal areas traditionally are less charitable than those in blue/conservative. They expect the government to do what charities traditionally did. Just compare Joe Biden's and Mitt Romney's tax returns.

kernal 5 years, 4 months ago

Mitt probably wouldn't have made most of those donations to charity, other then the required 10 percent tithe to the Morman Church, if he hadn't been able to write them off on his personal federal and state income tax returns.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 4 months ago

Is this on top of their donations to ALEC (which is a 501c3 registered charity) or just including them?

ScottyMac 5 years, 4 months ago

If the research to which you refer is from Arthur C. Brooks, I'd suggest you do a bit of googling. His study has been thoroughly debunked. But that doesn't stop fact-allergic conservatives from repeating it over and over, hoping it will come true.

blindrabbit 5 years, 4 months ago

oak-Methiks you got your reds and blues mixed up.

Maggie Morrissey 5 years, 4 months ago

United Way is down because we have been giving for Joplin disaster relief, NY/Jersey disaster relief, etc.......we haven't become less generous, companies less worthy, we struggle in today's economy and personally strapped financially. We have the same giving, caring hearts but sending donations for immediate needs!

Old_Oread_Phart 5 years, 4 months ago

It will be a cold day in you-know-where when we see a $1,000 check sent to a charity with a Louisiana Street return address.

Topple 5 years, 4 months ago

You speak as though United Way wants the money for themselves. They are using these funds to help people through social programs. You should be ashamed for criticizing them for wanting to help more people.

headdoctor 5 years, 4 months ago

How is it RC77 that you can get so many things so wrong? If you are this way in your real life I would be surprised if you even have job. The United Way isn't anymore trust worthy than a bunch of politicians at their after hour Washington Parties.

Clovis Sangrail 5 years, 4 months ago

Their annual report for 2011 is here --

Total income for 2011 -- $1,802,148.76

Expenses -- Fundraising - $131,534.79 Admistration -- $107,455.82 Dues (vigorish sent to UWay national) -- $14,758.18 Total -- $253,748.79

Total allocated to "Community Partners" -- $1,259,000.

$1,802,148.76 (income) minus $253,748.79 (fund raising, admin and dues) minus $1,259,000 (allocations to community) = $289399.97 unaccounted for.

(Hint: It's hidden in the "Program Expenses" right above "Fund Raising").

The Boy Scouts got $8,790.00. The Lawrence Community Shelter -- $30,706. Red Cross -- $72,680

Largest allocation -- Ballard/Penn House -- $251, 730

There were 24 community partners in 2011. Five more will be added in 2012, requiring that UWay pie be sliced a few more times.

Old_Oread_Phart 5 years, 4 months ago

I bet wilbur is one of those guys who complains about socialism while he is standing in line to deposit his social security check on his way to his second residence.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 4 months ago

Maybe they should start kicking their own money in!

headdoctor 5 years, 4 months ago

They don't need to kick in their own money. They have Corporate sponsors who who will strong arm their employees in to volunteering or donating.

labmonkey 5 years, 4 months ago

Give directly to the charity of your choice. More money will make it to where you want it to go. The United Way middle man needs to go away.

blindrabbit 5 years, 4 months ago

rockchalk1977: Enjoy your biased view of traditional marriage while you can! The Supreme Court is about to take up a couple of cases which may toss the whole issue in a different direction; if not now, just a few year's away. Do you enjoy the Cracker Barrel as well? Ate at Lester Maddox's PickRick in the Olde South back in the 1950's, didn't know of it's civil rights problems at the time; needless-to-say, didn't go back for seconds. Maybe some day you will understand the long term consequences of civil rights violations. Have you ever considered your life had you been born into different circumstances.

JackMcKee 5 years, 4 months ago

Somebody needs to be fired. I've been a number of local charity BODs and I can promise you that heads would roll if this happened somewhere else.

Erika Dvorske 5 years, 4 months ago

United Way appreciates the hard work of so many in the community to make these gifts possible. Thanks to everyone who gives, either to United Way or to the great organizations serving our community.
Please consider these points in response to some of the comments above: If you talk to some of the amazing community partners, many of them are excited about the great results that we are acheiving... together, not as individual entities. United Ways are locally governed by your neighbors, so if a different approach should be taken, you should share that with your neighbors. The Journal-World did an article last year on non-profit salaries from public information. If you want to know more about United Way or any other organization, check out their IRS Form 990 on Lots of people want to focus on overhead, but as a recent NYT editorial noted, we should be more interested in results.

If you have any questions, you should contact the United Way of Douglas County directly. Sincerely, Erika Dvorske President/CEO United Way of Douglas County

Clovis Sangrail 5 years, 4 months ago

Guidestar -- Once you find UWay of DoCo, you get this --

Financial Data -- Sign in or create an account to view this information Revenue and Expenses -- Sign in or create an account to view this information Balance Sheet -- Subscribe to Guidestar premium to view this information Forms 990 Received from the IRS -- Sign in or create an account to view this information Forms 990 Provided by the Nonprofit -- Sign in or create an account to view this information Financial Statements -- Subscribe to Guidestar premium to view this information Annual Reports -- Sign in or create an account to view this information Formation Documents -- Subscribe to Guidestar premium to view this information

But there is a Donate Now button.

50YearResident 5 years, 4 months ago

What happened to the $900,000 shortfall, well it was "sucked up" by the Community Shelter Project. Just like I have said before, there is just so much money a community can give and the generous folks of Douglas County decided to give the biggest slice of the pie to strangers that traveled here from out of our state. Now donations to the United Fund have been diverted to strangers. Priorities need to be changed. The shelter is going to continue to drain the available charity money out of the area for as logn as the shelter exists. Where do you want your donation to go, to locals, or to strangers?

bubblesinkansas 5 years, 4 months ago

If "overhead" funding is not available then "results" won't matter because the agencies will no longer exist. While UW is busy figuring out "systemic change" - the people in our community are drowning in need.

bubblesinkansas 5 years, 4 months ago

I am often confused by the concern of salaries from community members. It takes experience and commitment to lead a non-profit organization and those in leadership deserve a salary commensurate with their colleagues nation-wide. A non-profit is a business in these times - and it takes more than "good will" to lead such a business. I'm wondering if there can be a re-focus on the issue of what/how do we want to serve others in our community.

justfoodks 5 years, 4 months ago

Just so everyone clear: no one from United Way or anywhere else called me, and any of the funding for the non-profit that I lead is contingent upon me saying anything in defense of, or offense to, the United Way of Douglas County.

Before I say anything, I will say that years ago, I was a huge skeptic of United Way in general. Acting a pass through of funds to organizations and requiring nothing in return is irresponsible and dangerous. As the last few years have gone by, and I've seen UW's run successfully, that opinion has changed. The Douglas County United Way hasn't minced words, and invited everyone in our community to the table to give input on what our goals as a community should be.

As it is with most things in our awesome community, the same people that love to complain about how bad things are, don't show up and let their voice be heard. And because of that, misconceptions ensue, and we start slinging various accusations, and pretty soon, we're so entrenched in trying to defend a position that we don't even know what's fact anymore.

So, from my vantage point, here's what I know:

  1. No one at the United Way, or any other Social Service agency in Lawrence is getting rich. More is expected of non-profit leaders, because if we don't do our jobs, our programs don't exist. If someone in the corporate world did what non-profit leaders do everyday, they'd easily be making over six figures. Anyone who does this, certainly doesn't do it for the money. Our United Way is extremely fiscally responsible.

  2. United Way in our community encourages people to give locally to the charity of their choice. Or more broadly, you can give to the community goal that you are passionate about. Or even more broadly, you can give to the great amount of need in our community. They don't restrict where your donation goes. They empower it.

  3. Last year, when I arrived in Lawrence, United Way was working with agencies in the "self-sufficiency" goal to work together to collaborate. The story for each non-profit is the same. The need is growing, donations are everyone needs to try to get more donated. This meant that everyone was coming to the table and competing for resources. That's not healthy. So, UW got agencies focused on goals and working together. Those collaborations have meant that the waste that did exist in the system with people duplicating resources, are being reduced, and this system is becoming sustainable for the long term. That means that next year, the story won't be "WE NEED MORE MONEY AND THE NEED IS GETTING BIGGER!" -- but hopefully that we're making progress on reducing the core problems that cause cyclical poverty, which over the years will lead to a better Lawrence. Any agency will tell you that while the collaborations have required us to be unselfish, they've been so much better to make social services more sustainable in our community.

justfoodks 5 years, 4 months ago

United Way could easily just stop fundraising and be satisfied with what they've raised, but that would mean that money we (as agencies) have depended on wouldn't come through. Those that have commented on this: United Way is fundraising not for themselves, but because they believe in doing what they can to meet the needs in Lawrence.

Five years ago, our community wanted there to be more accountability with the funds that we were giving to the United Way to give to agencies. Then, UW started to do more to ensure that we were working together to accomplish goals as a community, involved the community in that process, and now UW is being accused of being self-serving.

I'd be happy to answer any questions that anyone has from an agency perspective. We are grateful for the United Way and all they do for the community, as well as their contributors and our donors too. We couldn't do it without all of those components working together.


Jeremy Farmer Chief Executive Officer Just Food jf (at) 785-856-7030

avarom 5 years, 4 months ago

Its much better for You, to donate your time and not your money...for you can rest assured you know your time is going to a good cause and not have to worry about some crook who is spending your hard earned money on their mistress, boat or new car!! I will Never donate money only my time.....that is well spent and hopefully appreciated!!

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