The Metro United Way announced the results of its current campaign today. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.
This year’s campaign collected just over $27 million, falling short of Metro United Way’s goal of raising as much as last year’s campaign — $28.5 million.
President and CEO Joe Tolan says the economy was a huge factor, with fewer employees at many workplaces where the agency held fundraising campaigns. He says the recession also pushed demand up and he doesn’t see that changing any time soon.
“Knowing that there will be fewer dollars available going into the new cycle than there were the year before, we’re continuing to do what we always do and that is to access and figure out how we can best maximize the available dollars, make the best investments, get the best returns in terms of people’s lives and quality of life,” he says.
However, Tolan says the agency saw increased giving at many workplaces where it held campaigns and that it increased the number of participating businesses in the campaign.
Tolen says the shortage of funds is happening at a time when the demand for services has increased 40 percent.
“Across the board, requests for services are up,” he says. “They’re most dramatically up in areas of basic needs like emergency food and the like. So, at the very time that they’re seeing less resources — that’s the conundrum — they’ve got more requests for services.”
Tolan says since May 1 last year Metro United Way has received 52,000 calls from people seeking assistance.
Volunteer campaign chair Dave Calzi says Metro United Way is already looking to its next campaign to help member agencies serve those in need.
“We have to keep focused because I believe that 2010 and into the future is going to be difficult as well,” Calzi says. “We’ve got to treat this as a battle because the demand is going to continue to go up and the resources are going to continue to be challenging.”
United Way Worldwide has projected a 6 to 7 percent decline in funds raised this year. Metro United Way’s funds fell by less than 5 percent.