The United Way of Central West Virginia made news recently for announcing that it would cut disbursements by 34 percent to 32 organizations. Pledges and collections are down in the ailing economy, just when more people turn to charitable organizations for help.
In a recent column, I listed the cost-cutting efforts in the United Way’s central office. At the top of the list were pay cuts, including a 10-percent cut for United Way President John Ballengee, who was paid $105,551 plus $6,333 in benefits, according to the agency’s 2007 Form 990 sent to the IRS.
When writing about non-profits, I like to take a look at the most recent audited financial statements. United Way’s 2008 audit by Herman & Cormany shows no problems. A separate Oct. 31, 2008 letter warns the United Way that because of increased costs and uncollected pledges — 4 percent instead of the budgeted 3 percent — the agency was in danger of having to pay its funding obligations from its reserves.
In response to that warning, the economic downturn and the shortfall in the recent campaign, the United Way decided to cut payments to member agencies, Ballengee said.
If the United Way kept handing out money at the previous pace and if conditions did not improve, the agency would be out of money within two years, he said.
The agency serves Boone, Clay, Kanawha, Logan and Putnam counties.