Fundraising Sags at United Way; Layoffs Planned

The United Way of America in Alexandria, Virginia, has announced that its member organizations raised less money through their fall 2002 workplace campaigns than they did a year earlier, the Washington Post reports. The organization also said it will announce layoffs this week.

When the final tally is complete in a few weeks, United Way affiliates are expected to report an overall fundraising total that is 3 percent to 4 percent less than the $3.9 billion they collected in the fall of 2001. An internal report reveals that results were especially bleak in several large cities. The United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas reported they raised about 11 percent less than the year before, while the United Way in Chicago saw its total decline 17.8 percent. The United Way of the National Capital Area expects to have raised about a third less than its 2001 total of $90 million, due in part to the revelation of financial improprieties at the chapter.

Although the United Way of America operates independently of its local affiliates, it depends on member dues calculated as a percentage of the affiliates' fundraising totals. As part of a restructuring effort spearheaded by United Way CEO Brian A. Gallagher, the national organization will lay off some of its two hundred employees. Gallagher has been working to shift the focus of the organization away from fundraising and toward a more active role in addressing the problems of local communities.

Jacqueline L. Salmon. "United Way Plans Overhaul, Layoffs." Washington Post 04/05/2003.