Local agencies may be shortchanged

Critical community programs could be at risk as a major fundraiser falls short of its goal.

Critical community programs could be at risk as a major fundraiser falls short of its goal.

United Way officials say there may not be sufficient finances to assist 27 non-profit agencies as the 2011 campaign has only raised $128,000 of its $300,000 target.

“It will be difficult to make decisions about what programs survive. Some may not,” said Linda Yule, United Way executive director.

“We’re very concerned about the situation.”

Among the groups receiving assistance from United Way are the Enderby Family Resource Centre, the Kindale Development Association, the Falkland Boys and Girls Club, the Upper Room Mission, the White Valley Community Resource Centre, St. John Ambulance and the North Okanagan-Shuswap Brain Injury Society.

Among the other agencies are the First Nations Friendship Centre, Independent Living Vernon, the North Okanagan Social Planning Council’s Volunteer Bureau and the North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association.

“We’re supporting groups that don’t have the capacity to fundraise,” said Yule of United Way’s mandate.

“And they shouldn’t have to be doing that. They provide necessary services and they need to be focused on that.”

The reasons for reduced donations could include other charities seeking public support and the poor economy impacting residents’ ability to donate.

“Everyone is being a little more careful with their dollars,” said Yule, adding, though, that United Way ensures all contributions are used efficiently.

“We do the due diligence on the groups funded and they are delivering the goods they promise.”

The campaign wraps up Dec. 31 and Yule is hopeful the community will recognize the agencies’ need.

“They are very valuable programs that make a big difference in people’s lives,” she said.

“One in three people benefit from the United Way’s partner agencies.”

To donate, call 250-549-1346 or go to www.unitedwaynocls.com.