01/26/10 — Consequences: Money that isn't coming in won't help those in community who need it

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Consequences: Money that isn't coming in won't help those in community who need it

This has not been an easy year for anyone -- least of all charities.

As generous as Americans are in general and Wayne County residents are in specific, many people found themselves with less to give as the year 2009 ended and 2010 dawned.

And this year, one of those charitable organizations left a little short was the United Way.

The organization was only able to muster 88 percent of a more than $1 million goal to generate the funding necessary to continue support for the long list of local organizations that fall under the United Way's umbrella and that assist Wayne County residents in times of hardship and tragedy.

And that means now there will have to be choices.

Not reaching the goal means that there will have to be funding cuts for some of the organizations Wayne County residents are used to supporting -- and none of those decisions will be easy. There will be some very worthy causes that will likely lose dollars they need.

It is right to assume the United Way staff and board will cull every extra expense out of the organization's budget before starting to cut the funding to these agencies and community partners.

That is the right thing to do -- and a key factor in maintaining the integrity of the organization's commitment to serving the community. There are dedicated staff and volunteers who will make sure those priorities remain at the top of the list even in this time of financial stress. And they will also continue to watch carefully to make sure that those who receive the funds so many of you have entrusted to the United Way will use them for specific goals and will offer measurable outcomes you can trust.

So that leaves some questions for those in the community who are concerned about the effect of these cuts on the agencies that rely heavily on aid provided by the United Way. For now, they are likely going to need more support. Charitable organizations run on tight budgets, and a loss of any kind is difficult to juggle.

And then there is next year.

Please make plans now to support the United Way in 2010. Your money stays here and helps so many people who would otherwise have nowhere to turn.

Your support has allowed the United Way and its partners the chance to be there for generations of Wayne County residents -- some of whom might very well be your family members, friends or neighbors.

The soul of this organization lies not in the office staff or the board that gathers each month.

The heart of the United Way in Wayne County is the hundreds of people who check a payroll deduction box or who write a check each year to support people they do not even know -- because it is the right thing to do.

So the United Way needs you not just to check that box, but to tell your friends and co-workers why you do. And if you believe in what this organization does, ask your employer to run a campaign this year -- or make a donation a part of your 2010 business plan.

It takes many hands to make a difference.

This year, more than ever, the United Way needs yours.

Published in Editorials on January 26, 2010 11:00 AM