GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties leaders say that years of diminished fundraising led them to hit pause on funding other nonprofits earlier this summer.
In July, the nonprofit placed a temporary hold on funding dollars, according to Becki Postma, its interim president and CEO.
United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties typically helps fund dozens of nonprofits across West Michigan. Some of those include Tri-Cities YMCA, Zeeland and Grand Haven Area Public Schools and Community Action of Allegan County.
“Our focus is to really help the most vulnerable in Ottawa and Allegan Counties, so I don’t want anyone to lose sight of that,” Postma said.
But recently, the organization hit pause after a decrease in available funding dollars.
“Over the last five years, our fundraising is down about 30% and, in the last year alone, about $500,000 down,” Postma said. “As a result of that, in July, we pulled all of our partner nonprofit agencies together and had a conversation with them, that we were going to take a purposeful temporary pause on our allocations.”
According to Postma, it’s a problem United Ways everywhere are seeing, not just in West Michigan.
“That is common among United Ways across the country,” she said. “Even nonprofits across the country, as well. I think people still want to give, and there are some people that are still giving, but not as many people are able to give as have been able to in the past.”
News 8 spoke with a nonprofit that wished to remain anonymous. That nonprofit said that if the funding pause continues, they will need to depend more on fundraisers, grant writing and other sources of income, so programming isn’t impacted.
According to Postma, United Way’s main focus is making sure it can get back with the nonprofits that it funds with the dollars that it raises and give an update by the end of October.
“That’s really what we’re focusing on right now,” she said. “We will meet that commitment and at the same time, we’ll meet that commitment to getting back at the same time with our donors and with our community partners.”
Postma said anyone who wants to volunteer or donate can visit the organization’s website.