United Way gives $17 million to 154 charity programs

Charlotte’s United Way announced Thursday it is giving $17.05 million to its member charities this year to pay for dozens of programs that provide health, shelter and education needs for low-income people.

The $17 million is on par with what the agency gave out last year. However, United Way estimates as much as $2 million of the money may have to come from the agency’s reserve fund, because of a gap between what was raised last year and rising community needs.

United Way has depended on the reserve fund nearly every year since the start of the recession in 2008, including $985,000 used to fulfill last year’s $17 million in charity allocations.

Money given out by Charlotte’s United Way supports 154 programs operated by 80 charities in Mecklenburg and four surrounding counties. In all, about 284,000 women, men and children in the region will be served by the programs.

Twenty-six charities will get more money than last year, much of it for programs that help children.

Among the agencies that got more:

▪ Child Care Resources Inc., $33,012 in additional funding to help children be better prepared before entering school and more apt to stay on grade level/on track for graduation.

▪ Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, $22,499 in additional funding for targeted programming for at-risk students in elementary, middle and high school, helping them plan for college and/or career.

▪ Charlotte Community Health Clinic, $17,726 more for bilingual mental health services and chronic disease prevention for low-income and uninsured children and adults, to head off high-cost health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

▪ Hope Haven, $17,268 more to help homeless individuals with substance abuse problems find employment, reducing the likelihood that homelessness or drug abuse will recur.

▪ Legal Aid of North Carolina, $9,694 more to provide domestic abuse victims with free legal services.

United Way Executive Director Sean Garrett said a key element of the money was a $200,000 grant divided between Charlotte Family Housing and the Ada Jenkins Center to help homeless families with school-age children.

Those funds – part of a three-year commitment – will help families prevent homelessness and simultaneously address the academic challenges that such instability places on children.

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