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United Way makes 10 percent cuts to Fort Wayne agencies

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) – Nearly three dozen Fort Wayne-area agencies will see their grants from the local United Way cut by 10 percent because of a shortfall in fundraising.

The United Way of Allen County’s board voted to cut its grants by $400,000 as its fundraising campaigns have fallen $1 million short since 2012. The organization said it is using $200,000 in reserves to ease the cuts to the 34 social-service agencies.

The AIDS Task Force, which gets $25,000 a year from United Way, will lose about $2,500 because of the cuts, Executive Director Jeff Markley told The Journal Gazette.

“Any decrease in funding is challenging,” Markley said. “We need to come up with another source for that funding.”

David Nicole, who became the United Way group’s CEO two months ago, said United Way will make cuts in its own programs, which include the 211 phone line referral center and the Kindergarten Countdown summer program for at-risk children.

“We are trying to do the least harm to individuals who are receiving services … and at the same time keep United Way as a viable organization,” Nicole told The News-Sentinel.

Early results for the United Way’s current $4.9 million fundraising drive are better than recent years, Nicole said.

“I am very encouraged,” he said. “I would say we have stopped the bleeding at this time.”

The cuts won’t take place until new grants are awarded in July, so the affected agencies have nearly six months to look for additional funding.

Markley, the AIDS Task Force director, said he was aware that the United Way campaigns had come up short of their goals in the past few years, so the cuts weren’t a surprise. He said he appreciated how officials handled the situation.

“They brought us all together and told us right away,” he said.