WHEATFIELD – With less than three weeks to go in its campaign, the United Way of Greater Niagara has reached 40 percent of its $1.27 million goal, President Carol G. Houwaart-Diez said Friday.
The figure jumped 10 percent in one week, largely because donations came in from the employees of the Wegmans supermarket in the Town of Niagara.
It’s too early to tell if the United Way’s new funding format, in which partner agencies had to apply and show they would aid the United Way’s new primary goals of education, health and income support, has had any impact on donations.
Houwaart-Diez said three companies she hasn’t dealt with before, each with more than 100 employees, have allowed the United Way to make presentations this fall.
But on the other hand, one of the questions she hears most often at those presentations is, “Who isn’t being funded anymore?”
The United Way has made three-year funding commitments for 44 programs operated by 24 agencies. That figure is down from 75 programs funded with last year’s donations.
Maureen Wendt, president and CEO of the Dale Association in Lockport, said her agency has received United Way funding for more than 50 years, yet she welcomed the reassessment of recipients.
“Whether it’s the United Way or any business, it’s wise to make sure they’re current,” Wendt said. “The wallet, as we call it, the pool of money, is shrinking, and you have to do your due diligence.”
The Dale Association’s health and wellness programs continue to be funded, hitting the United Way’s target areas. “We’ve been keeping current on the community’s wants and needs,” Wendt said.
Consumer Credit Counseling is one of the newcomers. Vice President Tara Vogel said her agency has never received any funds from any of the area United Ways in Consumer Credit’s 48 years of existence – until now.
The change came as Consumer Credit received an opportunity to move into the Family and Children’s Service building on Main Street in Niagara Falls.
Suzanne Shears, executive director of the Niagara Community Action Program, has received United Way funding before, but it’s now signed up as an annual partner.
“The program we will use the money for is called Family Stabilization through Basic Needs, where we will target low-income families throughout Niagara County, conduct a comprehensive needs assessment and address those needs in order to stabilize the family,” Shears said.