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Agency Heads React to United Way Campaign Shortfall, Extension

Some local agencies are hoping an extended fundraising campaign of the United Way will be successful and make up a $200-thousand fundraising shortfall.

The North Texas Area United Way provides funds to 18 area organizations, including THE Kitchen.

Jackie Hamm, executive director of THE Kitchen, says, "United Way is one of our partner agencies.  They're about two-percent of our overall budget for our Meals on Wheels and our congregate meals."

Hamm says that is a big chunk of change.

"It's about $30-$35 thousand," she says.

But overall, it's only two-percent of her budget.

Tuesday, the United Way announced it's extending it's fundraising campaign because it's currently $200-thousand short.

Representatives say all of the organizations that receive United Way funding will be fully funded for the next six months.

For area Boys and Girls Clubs, that means their "Project Learn" can continue.

Randy Cooper, director of the Boys and Girls Clubs, says, "Homework assistance.  These are tutoring, high-yield activities, technology programs for youngsters."

United Way's allocation is about 18 percent of the budget for boys and girls clubs education programs.

But what if the agency can't make up their funding shortage?

Funding recipients say they not worried about that possibility.

"Times are hard right now," Hamm says.  "We're all pinching pennies, we're all watching what we're doing, and the United Way is no different than anyone else."

"There's not a concern here, and I'll tell you why.  I'm optimistic because of the commitment of the United Way board, of staff, and of volunteers to continue to work to raise the necessary funding," Cooper says.

Campaign shortfalls are nothing new of United Way in recent years as the local economy slumped and several big contributors such as St. Gobain closed.

In 2008, the United Way dipped into it's reserve funds to make up a funding deficit.

Through the years, the amount of donations the organization received has steadily declined.

In 2005, they raised $2.2 million.

In 2007, $2.1 million, 2008, $1.6 million, 2009, $1.2 million, and 2011, $1.1 million.

We also spoke with representatives of the Wichita Adult Literary Council.

They say United Way funding makes up for about one-fourth of their budget and if they didn't get that money, they'd be in deep, deep trouble.
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