Local nonprofits struggle to cope with loss of United Way funding

Friday, January 11, 2013 | 6:33 p.m. CST; updated 6:26 p.m. CST, Saturday, January 12, 2013

COLUMBIA — Three local organizations that lost out when the United Way changed its funding model are struggling to make up for the lost revenue.

The organizations, the MU Adult Day Connection, Meals on Wheels and the Boone County Council on Aging, have lost a total of about $200,000 in United Way funding, according to a Aug. 12 Missourian article.

Seniors Matter, a fund managed by Community Foundation of Central Missouri, was created in July by the three organizations in response to the change. Because it is a new organization, it has distributed little money to the organizations, John Baker, executive director, said. 

The Seniors Matter advisory committee, which consists of the executive directors or delegates of the three organizations, oversees the fund and decides when money is distributed to the nonprofits, Baker said.

There is currently approximately $9,000 in the Seniors Matter fund, and $1,000 from the fund was given to Meals on Wheels last fall, Baker said. The gift was from an individual, and the former director of Meals on Wheels Marcia Walker solicited the donation. 

The three organizations have agreed to split money from the fund, except in a case, like the Meals on Wheels gift, when a donation is designated to a specific organization.

JoNetta Weaver, the current executive director of Meals on Wheels, said it's understandable that the fund is not generating enough money to make up for the loss.

"We have to be multidimensional in our approach to make up the $50,000 deficiency," she said, referring to her organization's specific loss in United Way funding. "Seniors Matter is just one dimension — it's not going to generate $50,000."

Meals on Wheels is looking for other sources of revenue. The organization usually has one fundraiser in April called "Big Wheels," but they are planning on having another fundraiser in the fall, Weaver said.

The organization is also planning on cutting spending and looking for grant options. She hopes not to increase the cost of seniors' meals.

"We have to work harder," Weaver said. 

The MU Adult Day Connection's loss in funding was less, at $38,000, according to the previous Missourian article. That amount makes up 10 percent of the organization's budget, said Megan Gill, director of strategic communication at the School of Health Professions at MU. 

"We are relying a lot on individual donations and other local fundraisers," she said. "We are looking at grants."

The American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter has lost $90,000 from the United Way, and it, too, is trying to raise money. Its representatives have begun soliciting donations from business leaders in Boone, Cooper and Howard counties. 

Boone Hospital Center officials gave the American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter $54,278, the Red Cross announced Thursday. That money, though, will be used for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts rather than to make up for the organization's loss in United Way funding, said Nancy Sell, community development manager for the Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter.

The Heart of Missouri United Way also recently reported a funding shortfall. It raised more than $3.4 million for its new Community Impact Model, $600,000 short of a $4 million goal. 

Supervising editor is Jacob Kirn.

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