United Way of Norman Faces Funding Shortfall
By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9
NORMAN, Oklahoma -- All the fundraising in the world couldn't get the United Way of Norman to its goal of $2.1 million for this year, so they are facing cuts. After a winter fundraiser, the group was still $250,000 short of their goal.
This week United Way President Kristin Collins broke the bad news. Agencies should prepare for at least a 25 percent cut in funding.
"There's shock to the system. We couldn't feel worse about that. It's the last thing that we want to do," United Way of Norman President Kirstin Collins said.
Some cuts are even higher The Women's Resource Center will see a 56 percent cut in funding and may have to lay off personnel.
Some agencies, like Compassionate Friends, lost all United Way funding.
"It was a real big shock because we've been part of the United Way since 1982, and we've been in Norman since 1980," said Cathy Walls with Compassionate Friends.
Nine agencies housed in Norman's Community Services building have to somehow absorb a reduction in United Way funding.
"They'll probably all have to look at exactly where their dollars are being spent on staff seeing how they can adjust those," said Community Services Executive Director Becky Aguilar.
Already the Cerebral Palsy office has decided it could no longer afford the rent. It will close its office and move out in two weeks. United Way said it's made cuts too.
"We cut every single thing that we could cut out of our own budget first, including not filling an open position," Collins said.
One thing the people at United Way of Norman are not scaling back on is fundraising goals. They're aiming for $2.15 million for next year. That will require a lot of work and a better economy in 2010.
Most of the agencies affected by the cuts say they'll look for other sources of funding, including public and private grants.