The 15 agencies supported by the United Way of Putnam County are all feeling the sting of smaller allocations this year -- but new executive director David English has high hopes that things will improve over the next year.
Every agency the United Way supports took a hit this year. In fact, some will receive no funding at all. Funding for most of the agencies was cut by at least 50 percent.
"We don't like that this happened," English said. "There is not a program we support that doesn't do positive things."
The cuts were necessary because the United Way fell very short of its $200,000 goal in its last campaign.
"We raised $78,000 last year," English said. "It was the worst year we've had in a long time."
In years past, agencies received allocation letters telling them what money they could expect from the United Way. Since every letter this year was bad news, English set up appointments to talk face-to-face with representatives from each agency and give them a heads-up.
"I went and sat across a table from every one of them so I could explain what was going on," he said.
A committee recommends allocations for agencies, and those recommendations are then forwarded to the United Way board for approval.
"The fact is, we just can't allocate what we don't have," English said.
United Way's 2009-10 campaign will kick off with a breakfast on Sept. 5. That is also the United Way's Day of Caring, an event dedicated to the completion of community projects.
"We don't know what the goal will be yet, but it's going to have to be realistic," English said. "We want input from our agencies and from the public. We want to know what it's going to be possible for us to achieve."
English wants to focus on getting the United Way out into the public eye and educating the community about what the organization's mission is.
"What I think is important for people to know is that 97 percent of the money we raise stays in Putnam County," he said.
Several United Way fundraisers are planned for the coming months, including a golf scramble and a youth softball tournament.