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Charlotte United Way gives $16.5 million to 78 charities

The overcrowded Salvation Army Center of Hope, a shelter for women and children, is the biggest recipient of United Way dollars. This year, the Salvation Army will get $1.6 million for its programs.
The overcrowded Salvation Army Center of Hope, a shelter for women and children, is the biggest recipient of United Way dollars. This year, the Salvation Army will get $1.6 million for its programs. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

United Way of Central Carolinas announced Thursday that it was allocating $16.5 million this year to the community’s key charities, with the bulk of the money going to successful programs that stabilize homeless families, boost graduation rates and help low-income people get health care.

Twenty-two of United Way’s 78 member charities will see increases in money, while 19 are getting less, including the YMCA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and American Red Cross.

The biggest drop involved Safe Alliance – a nonprofit that aids victims of domestic violence and sexual assault –which requested $446,497 less from United Way, due to changes in its services, officials said.

Two other small charities are closing their doors, and several others got less money because they lacked data to prove their programs are having as much impact as the more successful charities, United Way officials said.

Those cuts mean United Way is giving out $500,000 less this year, down from $17 million last year.

The agency continues to recover from the recession but is still not raising enough money to fund what local charities need. This year, $2.1 million of the money given to charities is coming from a reserve fund. But that’s $600,000 less than expected, which the agency sees as step in the right direction.

The reserve fund (which contains about $10 million) is a backup cash source created to guarantee member charities continue getting funding even during a community disaster.

United Way Executive Director Sean Garrett says the agency was also helped this year with $200,000 extra that came when local businessman Peter A. Pappas spearheaded a campaign among real estate industry companies to match a $100,000 challenge grant from the Siemer Family Foundation in Ohio.

“Growing up, home was the centerpiece of our family,” Pappas said in a statement. “We often came together around the breakfast room table to deal with the everyday challenges we faced. The demands on today’s working families make it even more crucial to provide affordable housing in a safe community.”

Garrett says it’s the first time the Siemer foundation has offered such a match in North Carolina, and United Way has been told the offer will be repeated annually.

The $200,000 will go to Charlotte Family Housing and the Ada Jenkins Center for a family stability initiative that helps prevent homelessness among families with school-age children, while also helping those children with academics.

In its first full year (2015), the family stability initiative served 58 families with 74 school-age children. Just over half the families increased their income, and 77 percent were able to maintain stable housing, officials said.

Who got increases?

To find out which charities got increases and which will see cuts, visit: https://uwcentralcarolinas.org/images/news-releases/2016/2016-community-investment.pdf

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