The Crow Wing County United Way cut its funding to 34 local agencies by 18 percent this year due to a reduction in pledged dollars.
The agencies received a letter about the funding cut and their reduced second quarter check last week. All agencies will receive third and fourth quarter checks, but fewer funds than initially budgeted.
"It's something we have to look at very seriously," said Kevin Pelkey, Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity executive director. "It will make a direct impact here."
Habitat budgets beginning July 1 have already been made and now must be re-evaluated, he said.
Pat Johnston, Kinship Partners executive director, said her agency and other local agencies have seen a reduction in donations across the board because of the poor economy.
But the organization will not have to reduce its programming or staff in any way because over the past 10 years the organization has established a rainy day fund it will dip into, she said.
Jeff Olson, Camp Confidence executive director, said his organization also has experienced reduced funding from many of their donors. The agency received about $67,000 from the Jaycees ice fishing tournament this year, less then half of what it received last year and $5,000 from the Eagles statewide organization -- half of what was received last year.
The organization has not had to cut programming yet, but if funding stays at a low level, programs might need to be adjusted next year.
For now, Camp Confidence is postponing all construction projects including re-roofing several buildings, Olson said.
The Brainerd YMCA receives only 4 percent of its budget from the United Way and intends to make up the difference through other funds. The United Way funds typically help subsidize free and reduced memberships, YMCA Executive Director Randy Klinger said.
"When you believe in your mission and have a passion for service to the community you will find a way," he said.
The Potlatch plant closure and layoffs in the area mean that not all of the pledged monies will be donated. The United Way met its fund-raising goal of $350,000 during the fall fund drive, but $16,000 pledged by former Potlatch workers through payroll deductions will no longer be realized in addition to other pledged dollars.
Heidi Funk, United Way executive director, said local agencies' services are being used more because of layoffs and it is unfortunate the United Way had to cut its funding.
Johnston said Kinship Partners has 54 people on its waiting list when they usually have between 20 and 25 during the summer. The slowing local economy and the added stresses it can put on families caused the increase, she said.
Some local businesses are working with the United Way to try and make up the difference lost because of the plant closure and layoffs.
Cragun's Legacy Golf Course is holding United Way week July 8-13. Cragun's pledged 40 percent of all green fees and 10 percent of all food and drink sales to the United Way. Cragun's hopes to raise between $15,000 and $20,000.
The United Way also is planning other potential fund-raising events later in the year.
"The community has jumped on board to say, 'Wait a minute'," Funk said. "Maybe we won't even have to do an 18 percent cut in our fourth quarter."
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