The United Way makes internal cuts to keep its community investment steady

Its funding priorities are programs that improve education, health and reduce poverty

Central Alberta’s United Way is tightening its belt so it can continue to steadily invest in community programs and services.

CEO Robert Mitchell said the last United Way fundraising campaign yielded $2.2 million, about $150,000 less than last year. This wasn’t a big surprise, since the agency largely depends on employee contributions, and with the tougher economy there are fewer employees in the workplace, he added.

To help make up the shortfall without impacting the money available for non-profits the United Way supports, Mitchell said one full-time administrative person was laid-off from his agency’s own resource development department. Three other United Way staffers had their hours reduced by one day a week, and the RRSP benefit to staff was cut by half. Also, none of the eight remaining agency workers had any salary increases this year.

This resulted in about $80,000 of savings.

To off-set the staffing reduction, Mitchell is hoping to access government funding to hire a summer student for the first time in many years, and also expects to employ an additional worker during the 2017 fundraising campaign in the fall.

The United Way, which supports 43 community programs, also is also running additional fundraisers to make up for lower campaign revenue, such as the Chuck-a-Puck event in February with the Red Deer Rebels, and the Dine for the United Way, a new initiative slated for June.

Mitchell said the agency expects to make the same investment in the community as in 2016. “Some groups might get a little more and some will get the same,” or a bit less, he added, but no regular clients will be left out in the cold.

The agency’s three priority areas continue to be programs that improve education, health, and reduce poverty.

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