Lack of donations prompts United Way cuts to Austin non-profits

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by MORGAN CHESKY / KVUE News and Photojournalist MATT OLSEN

khou.com

Posted on July 22, 2012 at 2:17 PM

AUSTIN, Texas -- By Friday morning nearly two dozen Austin non profits found out, they'll be losing thousands of dollars worth of funding.

Friday evening, the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry should have been closed, but Tresha Silva's weekend wasn't even close to starting.

"We're definitely concerned," the pantry director said.

For 25 years, the nonprofit's focused on feeding those in need. Now, Silva finds herself in the same place.

"We're going to have to pull a magic trick and we're kind of figuring out what that's going to be," Silva said.

The news came a few hours earlier -- $50,000, nearly a quarter of their budget, is gone.

"We know that people are still having a very hard time and donations are down across Central Texas," Silva said. 

It's the tough reality facing the United Way of Greater Austin. Thursday, their board voted to cut grant funds by $1.5 million dollars. The Bastrop Pantry is just one of 22 nonprofits affected.

"We've seen a decrease in contributions," Austin President Debbie Bresette said. "So we've tried to keep the agencies that we fund as level as we could."

United Way's $3 million in reserve funds has already been spent. Pay cuts and two layoffs later, the situation hasn't improved.

"We had high hopes for this year's campaign because the economy was really beginning to shift and it didn't come to fruition like we wanted," Bresette said.

Some agencies such as family based Lifeworks only saw reductions, losing $140,000 in grant dollars. Others lost all United Way Funds. Capital IDEA's out $100,000.

"I absolutely think that this is a call to action for this community," Bresette said.

Despite the cuts, United Way says donations given for specific agencies will continue to be honored. For a list of those affected by the cuts click here
 

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