United Way

Faced with a fundraising shortfall, Monadnock United Way announced Monday that it will cut its allocations to nonprofit agencies this year by $242,300.

That includes ending direct funding to many agencies after April 30. Meanwhile, the organization will continue funding a core set of programs — many of them multi-agency collaborations — as planned, or with small reductions.

Monadnock United Way President Liz LaRose called the organization’s decision a tough one.

“When you’re facing reductions in funding and reductions in what you’re able to give out, then it does force you to really focus and try to go deeper into something,” she said. That approach has a greater impact, she explained, than “doing a little bit for everyone.”

The focus going forward is on “highly targeted” initiatives related to the well-being of children and families, specifically in the areas of emergency housing and food access, early childhood success and family resources, according to a letter to members of the public announcing the change. (Sentinel president and COO Terrence L. Williams serves on the MUW board of directors.)

A Keene-based nonprofit organization, Monadnock United Way supports and partners with other area agencies to work on issues related to children, education and financial stability. It organizes an annual fundraising drive, which includes workplace giving campaigns and other individual donations.

MUW had hoped its campaign would hit $1,535,000 for 2020 — matching the prior year’s haul — but ended up with about $1.3 million, LaRose said.

The organization plans to put a total of $900,000 toward the Cheshire County Emergency Housing Collaborative, the Monadnock Food Pantries Collective, the Monadnock Home Visiting Alliance, the Monadnock Region Afterschool Collective and the Monadnock Parent Education Collective, six early childhood centers, a Southwestern Community Services program that provides preventive dental care to pregnant women and young children, and Impact Monadnock, MUW’s early childhood initiative.

LaRose said most of those groups are seeing a 5 percent reduction from their anticipated 2020 allotments.

Other organizations will see their 2020 awards slashed by two-thirds as they are “transitioned away from MUW funding,” the letter states. Some of those organizations also participate in the collectives that will continue to be funded.

The affected agencies were notified Monday, LaRose said.

Monadnock United Way is also reducing its staffing to the equivalent of six full-time positions, down from 8½. LaRose said one person is being let go. Two other jobs that are being eliminated, one full-time and one-part time, were already vacant.

The bulk of Monadnock United Way’s revenue comes from its annual fundraising drive.

A decade ago, the yearly campaign yielded more than $2 million, but has been pulling in less and less in recent years, LaRose said.

“We had hoped that we would hit a point where [the] campaign flattened out and then started to grow,” she said. But as it became clear that the latest campaign would show another decrease, she said, “that’s when we realized we were going to have to look at this as being more long-term.”

More details about MUW’s planned 2020 disbursements is available at muw.org/2020-investments.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter