United Way of Wise celebrates record year

By Messenger Staff | Published Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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The United Way of Wise County celebrated a record year last Thursday – the first time it has ever distributed more than half-a-million dollars to its member agencies.

Donors gave $484,435 in 2012, up from $454,004 in 2011.

But along with the growth came the sobering knowledge that needs are greater than ever – and donations will need to grow with them.

“This past year we had a $75,000 grant to the Wise County Community Health Center,” executive director Martin Woodruff said. “That was to help get them started – it goes down to $25,000 this year.”

In fact, the United Way’s budget for 2013 falls by more than $108,000 – from $547,361 to $438,620. That includes the $50,000 reduction for the Community Health Center and a nearly $30,000 cut to Wise Hope Center & Shelter, as well as minor reductions for:

  • Newark Area Food Pantry, from $11,200 to $10,000;
  • Texas Neighborhood Services/Community Services, $20,090 to $20,000;
  • Texoma Area Paratransit System (TAPS), $20,200 to $20,000;
  • Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM), $69,255 to $65,000;
  • Wise County Committee on Aging, $27,987 to $27,000;
  • Wise County 4-H, $6,983 to $5,000;
  • Southwestern Diabetic Foundation, $4,400 to $3,000
  • Wise Choices Pregnancy Resources Center, $19,542 to $12,000;
  • CASA of Wise County, $26,501 to $25,000;
  • STAR Council on Substance Abuse, $20,408 to $20,000;

Camp Fire USA, First Texas Council, which got just $200 last year, is out of the United Way budget for this year. Also eliminated from funding this year is Voices Youth & Family Services, which got $15,000 in 2012.

Whereas the United Way entered 2012 with a cash balance of just over $700,000, the balance going into 2013 was slightly below $600,000 – a trend Woodruff said can’t be sustained long-term.

“If we can’t turn our donations around, we’re looking at significant cuts to all our agencies,” Woodruff said.

The annual meeting, held at the Decatur Civic Center, gave the United Way a chance to honor its major donors and recognize its 28 partner agencies. The organization also recognized outgoing directors Cyd Bailey, Greg Byers, Brad Burnett, Lillie Hunt, Justin Larsen, Callie Manning, Linda Potts and Judy Wilson.

Returning directors Eddie Bland, Bill Brimmer, Beverly Lindsey, Dana Manoushagian, Bettye Rigdon, Andrew Rottner, Dena Silvers and Tammy Tolbert were introduced along with new directors Cody Hambrick, Lori Sherwood, Will Klose, Megan Adams, Terry Everett, Shawn Mann and Gary Metcalf.

Officers for 2013 include Rottner, Sabrina Easley, Andrew Sandford, Kim Lawson, Steve Summers and Tolbert.

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