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Local United Way Reduces Charitable Funding By 10 Percent

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jun 23, 2017
United Way of the Cape Fear Area has seen a significant reduction in donations during its fundraising campaign for the 2017-18 fiscal year, resulting in a 10 percent decrease in funding for the area organizations it serves.

Chris Nelson, president and CEO of the United Way of the Lower Cape Fear Area (UWCFA), said that with just days remaining in its campaign, donations have been “down significantly from last year” by between $160,000 to $180,000.

“Since we have a loss in the campaign, we really had no choice but to reduce funding by 10 percent into the community agencies,” Nelson said. "To the best of our knowledge, it’s unprecedented."

The campaign kickoff was held in September and runs until June 30. Nelson described a “very aggressive goal” this year of $3 million with an estimated impact to 200,000 people in the Cape Fear community.

As of Friday, the campaign had raised just under $2.1 million, he said.

Though United Way is a national organization, funds raised by the UWCFA campaign stay in the local community, he said. The funds go to charities selected by United Way volunteers.

The nonprofit invests in three broad areas: education, health and financial stability, Nelson said. UWCFA serves a number of organizations within those areas including, New Hope Clinic, the Good Shepherd Center, Salvation Army, Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM), The Carousel Center, Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) and Community in Schools of Brunswick County.

Nelson touted past achievements of WARM in its ability to increase the number of homes rehabilitated every year; the success in the BRC for helping children achieve better grades in school and reducing juvenile crime in Wilmington; and the local effort, spearheaded by UWCFA, in a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness.

“The success WARM has had, in terms of the number of homes they can rehabilitate every year, is a prime example. It’s increased dramatically,” Nelson said. “[And] in six years we have seen a significant reduction of chronic homelessness in our community. It’s been a collaborative effort.”

While funding this year has been reduced, Nelson said the nonprofit will move forward and continue its mission to impact the community by providing resources to meet the most critical needs of residents in New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick and Columbus counties.

“Clearly there is the connection between the support from the general public and what we collectively can do in investing and solving community problems,” Nelson said. “Even with a 10 percent reduction, we continue to see phenomenal work and success being done by the local agencies United Way is investing in.”

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