AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The United Way of Amarillo and Canyon said this is a critical year for their annual campaign after several years of donations being down.
The organization said this year has to be different so the Amarillo and Canyon communities don’t suffer.
The United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community, but that fight costs money and that money isn’t coming in like it used to.
“The campaign has gone down the last couple to three years," said United Way Senior Director of Community Impact Belinda Palacios. "I think that’s a trend not only for Texas, but nationally in just regards to philanthropy in general that you see a lot of non-profits that have struggled and their revenue has not been where it’s been in the past.”
2016 was a particularly tough year because the United Way had to cut allocations to each of their 17 providers by 30 percent.
“It hit them really hard," said Palacios. "There are some of our providers that have a healthy bottom line from other streams of revenue, and then there are several of our providers that don’t. They really have to depend on United Way dollars in order to provide those services. Those services are services that if they went away in this community, the community would feel a gaping hole because they are so, so very important.”
2017 would have meant even more cuts, but the United Way refused to let that happen.
“We did some financial restructuring within our staff," said Palacios. "There were some positions that were not filled and we did not take merit increases last year because it was more important for us to make sure our providers were not going to take another cut.”
That brings us to this year, where the United Way is determined to see an upward trend.
“Our goal this year is $4 million," said Resource Development Director Jason McCoy. "That’s a $500,000 increase over last year.”
The non-profit believes it is obtainable because this year a group of volunteers is spreading the United Way's story on a personal level to as many people and businesses who will listen.
“We’re probably one of the best kept secrets in all the community,” explain McCoy. "People know United Way. They know of the logo and the name, but people don’t know what we are doing. We felt if we could just share on a little bit of a larger scale about what we are doing that we would start seeing an impact in return, and we have. We are transparent. We are intentional and we want to be good stewards of the dollars that people give us and I think we are having a definite impact on the community. "
Last year, the United Way helped more than 44,000 people. To put that into perspective, that’s 1 in 5 people in Amarillo and Canyon.
Through this year’s campaign, the organization hopes it can reach even more.
If you or your business would like to join this year’s campaign or if you just want to learn more about how the United Way is working to end the cycle of poverty in our community, give them a call at (806) 376-6359.