United Way funding changes impact some local non-profits

Published: Mar. 4, 2020 at 10:27 PM CST
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This year funding provided by United Way of Dane County to partner non-profits has gone down. United Way says the reason is due to a restructured focus but some don't agree.

More than

will receive grant funding from United Way in 2020. More than $19 million will be given to local non-profits. Domestic Abuse Intervention Services or DAIS used to receive funds from United way but says its now working to meet a quarter of a million dollar gap in the budget.

After four decades DAIS says its no longer partnered with United Way. "In November of 2019 we were notified that we would not be receiving grant invested dollars starting in 2020," said DAIS Executive Director Shannon Barry. Barry says the funding cut came as a surprise. "That was a significant amount of money for us," said Barry.

United Way says it created new funding focus areas as part of its 2020 Agenda for Change. "We have moved all of our funding in that area to really double down on how we get families into stable housing as quickly as possible," said Martha Cranley, Vice President of Community Impact.

The agency says it's now focused on what they describe as a "two generation approach" to helping families in need. This means working with families that have children under the age of 5 five and their caregiver. "With the new funding focus areas, we really tried to ensure that we met those areas and so we asked United Way to support a newly launched case management services unit," said Barry.

Barry says DAIS was told they still don't qualify to receive the funds they did in the past. "We were told that though we do serve families in poverty with young children, that because we don't have a two generational approach that we were not prioritized for funding," said Barry. She also says the short notice on the funding changes created a challenge. “We already completed our budgeting process and we were just about to get it approved,” she said.

Cranley says United Way understands how this could be an issue for organizations receiving less than they have in the past. “We’re running our campaign at the same time we’re making these decisions so we’re kind of making this decision on a best guess…we realize it does not give the agencies very much time as they are trying to do their budgets at the same time we are”, said Cranley. United Way says it is rethinking how to do more budgeting ahead of time to let partner agencies know sooner.

DAIS is now asking for the community to support them by donating directly to them where all proceeds will go to help families impacted by domestic violence.

United Way wants to make it clear that none of its campaign partners were cut-off rather the way funding is decided changed. United ways says DAIS provides a great service to families in Dane County and hopes to be able to work together again in the future.