United Way makes cuts after falling short of fundraising goal

United Way logo (Photo by Mark Brown/WindsorNewsToday.ca)

The Sarnia-Lambton United Way campaign has fallen short of its fundraising goal for the third time in four years.

The 2021 initiative raised $1,647,000, representing 94.1 per cent of the $1.75 million goal.

Executive Director Dave Brown talked about some of the funding cuts the agency had to make after not hitting its target.

“There were 10 programs — five of them received a cut and five of them were cut right out.  Not because the program wasn’t effective, not at all, it’s just because the needs in our community are changing, and at the end of the day we just didn’t have enough funds available.”

Brown said they’re hoping a couple of these cuts are just temporary.

“Going forward, we’ll have 30 local funded programs, largely assisting those From Poverty to Possibility, but also supporting All That Kids Can Be, and Healthy People, Strong Communities.”

In a media release, the United Way said community volunteers reviewed 39 programs equaling $2,171,320 in funding requests, to identify which programs best addressed key elements in one of three of the organization’s priority impact areas, mentioned above by Brown.

“We used to provide three-year funding for agencies, which meant we couldn’t really be flexible in case of pandemic times or changing needs in our community,” said Brown.  “Now we’re doing the one-year funding cycle, which allows us to pivot quickly if we need to, to best meet the needs in our community.”

Even though the campaign didn’t reach its goal, Brown said the initiative finished strong and saw quite an increase over the last two or three weeks.

“We had a lot of first time donors and a lot of people who made second donations this year.  So, we’re very grateful for the community’s confidence.”

In 2018, the campaign target was missed for the first time since 1993.  The 2020 fundraiser also fell short.

-With files from Stephanie Chaves

A media release from the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton. 12January 2022.

A media release from the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton. January 12, 2022.