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United Way struggles to meet 2019 goal
Funding cuts made to partner agencies
United Way logo

Due to the failure to meet its 2019 fundraising goal, United Way of Central Kansas announced Tuesday it will reduce funding to its 22 Community Partners by 30 percent for this year, UWCK Executive Director Gaila Demel said. The shortfall for the 2019 campaign year totalled $40,000. 

After years of reaching the annual goal by the end of January, the goal in 2018 was not reached until April, she said. The board and staff reached out to donors through phone calls, appeal letters and recruited more workplace participation, and with the extra push, the goal was met, but months after the typical goal timeframe.  

But, “as the 2019 Workplace Campaign drew to a close, the UWCK board made the difficult decision to decrease funding to the agencies sooner rather than later in the year,” Demel said. This will allow the agencies time to adjust their budgets rather than being put in a crunch later in the year.  

“Decreased giving is happening in many smaller United Ways, not only in Kansas but nationally as well,” Demel said. The payroll deduction option accounts for over half of the funds raised each year by United Way. 

“As those numbers decrease it is difficult to make up the dollars, especially when considering that many businesses will match donations made by employees, she said. Therefore, some Workplace Campaigns are 75 percent of what they were in prior years. 

“As the economy has slowed and more people in Barton and Pawnee counties find themselves having to make difficult decisions regarding their donations, this will and can vastly change the final outcomes for non-profits across the board,” she said. “Adding to that equation, is recent changes in tax laws which means donations may no longer be tax deductible for the average family.”

However, the need for additional social services has a high probability of increasing when the economy slows, she said. The increased need for more resources means more strain on each non-profits budget. 

“While this is definitely not the announcement we want to share with our community partners and the community members as a whole, I have been impressed with how generous donors are with their on-going support for the individual fundraising efforts the community partners organize,” she said. “Even if you can’t make a monetary donation, reach out and see if there are volunteer opportunities or a way that you can advocate on behalf of the agency to help them to meet the needs of the community.

“The donations we collect annually are quickly absorbed into the allocation requests for support to our community partners,” Demel said. 

“We keep 99 percent right here in our communities where we get to make the decisions on where and how the monies are spent,” said Desa Marmie-Behr, UWCK Board president. “We are here – neighbor helping neighbor.”

Donations can still be made to United Way of Central Kansas in a variety of ways.  On-Line giving is possible at and by mail to UWCK, 1125 Williams, Great Bend, KS  67530.  

The office number is 620-792-2403.