With the state cutting back on its mental health care budget, Phylis Holliday has seen a huge increase in the demand for the services of her United Way funded organization, Friendship Community Center.
"My membership has doubled in the past year," said Ms. Holliday, who got some good news Wednesday as the United Way of the CSRA announced its budget allocations from the money raised in the 1999 campaign.
Friendship Community Center, which provides programs for more than 400 mentally ill adults, will receive about $4,400, or 5 percent more this year than it did last year from the United Way.
United Way agencies received about a 4 percent increase across the board. The money will help fill in some of the gaps created as Ms. Holliday tries to provide programs that the government once funded, she said.
"It's a trickle down from the government cutting back. If the nonprofits don't do it, who will?" she said.
Last year, the United Way agencies received no increase, and the average increase in 1998 was only about 3 percent. There are more than 20 nonprofit organizations which fall under the United Way. They include the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services, Senior Citizens Council and Domestic Violence Intervention.
Each fall, the United Way launches a capital campaign. This year's campaign raised $3,943,429.
A volunteer board reviews each of the agencies' budget requests and then divvies up the money among the agencies.
Although the dollar amounts in past few campaigns have risen overall, money has not reached the agencies because donors have designated funds to organizations that are not under the United Way umbrella and some people have not made good on their pledges.
For the first time in about seven years, the designated donations have gone down. In the 1999 campaign, $330,993 was pledged to organizations outside the United Way; in 1998, that figure was $355,377.
"We can never get you as much money as you need," United Way board Chairman Robert Osborne told the agency heads attending the meeting. "I think all of you should be thanked. I shudder to think the vacuum that would be created if you weren't doing what you were."
The United Way will kickoff its 2000 fund-raising campaign Aug. 28.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at (803) 441-6927.
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