Raleigh, N.C. — The United Way of the Greater Triangle has mailed a letter to major contributors, asking them to give a little more than they have previously because the sluggish economy jeopardizes funding for area social service groups.
Middle-class families have traditionally accounted for the bulk of United Way donations, but agency officials expect these families to cut back on their charitable support.
"As economic hardships are affecting this segment of the population and likely to reduce their ability to give, our agencies are struggling as never before," local United Way President and Chief Executive Craig Chancellor wrote in a recent letter to leading donors.
The United Way of the Greater Triangle helps support 83 nonprofit agencies, which in turn served more than 490,000 people last year. Because the 2010 United Way fundraising campaign total of $17.6 million was less than expected, allocations to the nonprofits were cut by an average of 14 percent.
"In the generation we're in, the nonprofit community is suffering and struggling harder than they have before," said Angie Welsh, senior vice president for resource investment with the United Way. "More people than ever before are hurting right now, and so our hope is that we don't have to cut our funded programs any more than we've had to in the last year."
Alice Lutz, chief executive of Triangle Family Services, said demand for her organization's mental health counseling, credit counseling and protective services, has increased because of the economic downturn. The nonprofit has cut staff and programs because of lower funding, she said.
"(More cuts would mean) we'd have to choose – choose who we can help – and those are really tough decisions," Lutz said.
More cuts means less help for people like Larry Richardson, who turned to Triangle Family Services two years ago for counseling after he was convicted of assault.
"It's part of what I had to go through to be a better person," Richardson said.