Action Report: United Way cuts funds to agencies

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 8, 2012 at 6:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 8 at 6:41 PM

Bill Capo / Action Reporter
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

METAIRIE, La. -- In the middle of Metairie is a farm run by the ARC, which serves 350 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

They participate in a variety of programs, including growing crops for the ARC kitchen, where a variety of soups are cooked and sold.

That's where we found Tim Halby, who started with the ARC four years ago on the landscaping team.

"It's great," said Tim, smiling. "They've taught me how to cook. When I go home, I cook sometimes when my mom's tired. I cook."

But the ARC is one of 84 United Way agencies whose budgets have just been cut. The last $14 million fundraising campaign missed its goal by $700,000, so each United Way agency lost funding.

"The average was about 28.2 percent, but they range from 10 percent to 70 percent plus, depending on the size of the program," said United Way CFO Michael Williamson.

The ARC lost one third of its United Way funding, which shut down plans for new projects.

"Everybody has taken on additional work," said ARC Executive Director Cliff Doescher. "We try very hard to preserve employment for people, and not put them on the unemployment line."

Later this month United Way is going to start its new fundraising campaign. They're working out the goal right now. It will be somewhere between $13.5 million and $14.5 million.

They know it is absolutely essential to meet if not exceed it, and they're hoping to get new companies involved.

"Give us a call, and we'll talk to your employer about how we could run a campaign there, and make it very easy for you," said Williamson.

"If there's further cuts, we're going to go into our employees, and some of the benefits that we offer to them," added Doescher.

It would be tough for clients like Tim, who love their work at the ARC.

"It's great, because I help with the bills at home, my mom, my phone," said Tim. "It really don't matter how much I get, because coming here working, learning how to cook, is what makes me come."

 

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