After a disappointing fundraising campaign, the board of trustees of the United Way of Central Ohio voted last month to cut support to member-agency programs by 6 percent for the second half of the year. The 2008 campaign fell more than 7 percent short of its goal, and Chief operating officer Rick Carrick fears that the 2009 effort, which begins in the fall, could be even worse. In addition to declining donations, the percentage of pledges sent out of the system for specific organizations or other United Ways is increasing. People have been unable to keep up with their pledges, and workplace campaigns are hurting from layoffs and rising unemployment. Uncollectibles are up to about 7.2 percent. The cuts to member-agency programs will run from July to December. A new grant process will begin in 2010, and the United Way will follow the calendar year for funding. Trustees have stated that they want the community to know that human-services needs are desperate, and that nonprofit organizations cannot fill all the gaps created by deep reductions in government spending. The board will not, however, approve a resolution urging state lawmakers to include “revenue-generating options” in their consideration of Ohio’s budget issues, because they question whether it is the place of the United Way to call for tax increases.
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