United Way falls short in fundraising - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

United Way falls short in fundraising

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February 25, 2003

Albany - Children at Albany's Semper Fidelis Nursery School enjoy the innocence of youth. The three and four year olds have no idea of the budget struggles their director and teacher is going through.

"Probably will have to cut back on learning materials, and the classes teachers will take," Felicia Johnson, the nursery school's director said.

That's because the United Way of Southwest Georgia raised only $1.45 million of the $1.65 million necessary to fully fund it's agencies at last years rates.

"Can't say our expectation ever was to reach that goal, but we owed it to the communities and agencies we serve to try to make it," United Way of Southwest Georgia President Wayne Mehearg said.

Mehearg says he wasn't optimistic because he realized fundraising is more difficult in a recessionary economy.

"United Way depends on contributions which are mostly payroll deduction at worksite, when people aren't working, they aren't there to be solicited," Mehearg said.

"The United way mostly serves the elderly, disabled, and children like these, including funding programs like Boys and Girl Scouts and the Boys and Girls Club of Albany."

Now each is having to look at grants or other options to make up for lost funding.

"Possibly will have to increase fees next school term," Johnson said. 

Something she doesn't want to do the parents of these children, since the main reason they are part of the United Way in the first place, is they offer reduced child care costs to those who can't afford it.

The United Way of Southwest Georgia serves 19 other agencies in surrounding counties. They'll be notified how much their allocations will be cut in the next few weeks.

posted at 5:53 p.m. by dave.d'marko@walb.com