Red Cross tries to make up for loss of United Way funding

Thursday, January 10, 2013 | 4:19 p.m. CST; updated 8:37 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 10, 2013

COLUMBIA — The American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter is trying to make up for the $90,000 it won't receive from the United Way because of the agency's new funding model. 

Last fall, the Columbia area United Way shifted its funding model to target children and families struggling with poverty. The Red Cross will not receive funds under these new guidelines, called the Community Impact Model. 

To make up for the loss in revenue from the United Way, the Red Cross organized a committee in the fall called the United Way Recovery Committee. The members of the committee have been scheduling meetings with business leaders and individuals in Boone, Cooper and Howard counties who might be interested in giving to the Red Cross, said Nancy Sell, the community development manager at the American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter. The committee started meeting with several businesses and individuals in the area.

The organization also hopes to bring in more contributions through its workplace giving campaign, Dave Griffith, the chapter's executive director, said in a Jan. 8 news release.

"It's like a payroll deduction," Sell said. These will be new fundraising measures for the Red Cross, which previously avoided soliciting donations in workplaces because it is a main source of income for the United Way.

"We didn't want to compete with them," she said. However, the committee decided it is now appropriate to give employees the option of funding the Red Cross out of their salaries, she said. 

The committee consists of nine members, including two individuals who recently started working for the Red Cross: Sell and Clayton Kennedy.

Sell joined the Red Cross in April, and Kennedy has been working as community market manager since October. As the community development manager, Sell tries to create positive relationships between the Red Cross and businesses and individuals in the area.

"I've talked with dozens of businesses," Sell said. Everybody has heard of the Red Cross, but not everybody knows the extent of what it does, she said.

The committee wants to identify a concrete strategy to replace the United Way funding loss by the end of April, Griffith said in the news release. By then, the committee is hoping to receive $45,000 — half of the money lost — in forms of pledges and commitments.

Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.

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