Today, United Way for Greater Austin announced a difficult decision to reduce funding to some of our nonprofit partners. We made this financial decision with careful consideration and regret the negative impact it could have on organizations and the people we all serve throughout our community.
This decision came as the result of fundraising shortfalls. A significant percentage of our annual revenues are generated from workplace-giving campaigns and, unfortunately, these have fallen by $3.1 million since fiscal year 2008.
Although UWATX has seen a decrease in campaign giving over the last three years, we continued to support our nonprofit partners at consistent levels – with grants in education, financial opportunity and access to health care. We have used money from our financial reserves to make up the decrease in campaign donations and distributed $3.84 million in grants to nonprofit partners in fiscal year 2010 and $3.4 million in fiscal year 2011.
In order to continue serving our community long-term, our total giving this year is going to be $2.2 million in grants and we are decreasing the number of agencies receiving grant funding. In addition to decreasing the overall 2012 grant funding amount and number of agencies receiving grant funding, to reduce costs we are cutting our overhead with decreases in operational costs and head count.
Though we are cutting grants, our nonprofit partners will still continue to receive designated dollars through campaign. Over the years, these dollars have gone down alongside our overall campaign. We hope today’s decision will be a call to action for all donors to restore their support to our community to pre-recession levels – as we hope to do when it is financially viable for us to do so.
As results from our campaigns have trickled in over the past few months, I spoke with leaders at our nonprofit partner agencies to let them know about the potential decisions we were facing. Nonetheless, every nonprofit depends on their funding to continue their good work in our community, and I truly regret that we cannot support that work at the same level as in previous years.
We have been extraordinarily proud to support our local nonprofit partners with steady grants, particularly when so many in our community were struggling. I know I am not alone when I extend a sincere apology to those agencies that have now had their funding reduced. While the funding has changed, we will work to continue our relationships with these organizations and keep them in the United Way family.
If you give to any of these organizations, please continue or increase your support so they can continue their valuable work: