Despite cuts, United Way announces $26 million in grants across the region

Charlotte-based United Way of Central Carolinas will invest $26.4 million in bettering lives across the region over the next 1 1/2 years, agency officials said Thursday.

Money will go to more than 100 programs and initiatives that work to improve people’s health, education and financial stability, and lift more from poverty, United Way officials said.

Unlike with the current funding that covered a one-year period, the new funding period will have to last 18 monthsand runs from July 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2020.

The biggest recipient across Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union, Anson and southern Iredell counties remains Charlotte’s Salvation Army. It runs the region’s largest shelter for homeless women and children and will receive about $1.14 million.

Other top recipients include YWCA Central Carolinas, $825,000; Child Care Resources Inc., $679,473; Safe Alliance Inc., which assists victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, $672,750; and Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, $635,625.

Care Ring Inc., which provides health care services to the uninsured and under-insured, will get $587,625, according to the United Way’s funding list.

Earlier this year, United Way officials said they would end a decade-long practice of relying on savings and would cut contributions to area nonprofits by 25 percent. The cuts come as donations to the United Way continue to fall, reflecting a national trend, as companies have opened up their charitable giving beyond the United Way, local United Way officials previously told The Charlotte Observer.

Despite an improving economy, the local United Way’s revenues slid 8% last fiscal year to $26 million, and the agency predicts up to the same decline for the fiscal year ending this June 30. The local United Way also previously said it would trim $1 million from its operating expenses, the Observer reported. And the agency is dipping into its fund balance again to compensate, officials said.

The grants announced Thursday include $17.7 million for the United Way’s Unite Charlotte,United Neighborhoods and Impact Grants programs, and $8.7 million for community agencies as directed by donors.

Launched in 2017, United Neighborhoods helps families in economically disadvantaged Charlotte neighborhoods become more financially stable and their children better prepared for school, among other initiatives.

Started in response to Charlotte’s civic unrest in late 2016, Unite Charlotte funds social justice initiatives that address racial equity, poverty, civil rights and access and inclusion, according to Unite Charlotte’s web page.

“We are grateful for the support of so many partners and donors as we work to move the needle on economic opportunity,” Laura Clark, president and CEO of United Way of Central Carolinas, said in a statement Thursday.

“We know change won’t happen in isolation, so we are thankful to have the ability to make a collective impact through the efforts of hundreds of dedicated organizations and thousands of individuals,” Clark said.