Changes to federal program could affect local United Way funding

The United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley has raised about as much money this year as it did by this time last year. But changes to a federal program could make meeting fundraising goals harder than usual.

According to a news release from the organization, funds that local federal government employees donate to the United Way through a federal program called the Combined Federal Campaign are now headed for the United Way of National Capital Area instead of the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

Nadine Pottinga, CEO for the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, said that those changes mean that money that has previously come to the organization at the end of the year will not be headed to the local United Way chapter this year.

“Right now, we’re doing comparatively pretty well” compared to last year’s figures, Pottinga said. “I’m just a little bit concerned that we may not make it toward the end based on some things that we knew came in last year.”

Pottinga said the changes could leave the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley with lower revenues than it has received in the past at the same time local nonprofits have been increasingly asking the organization for grant funds because of cuts in federal and state funding.

“The need for grants like United Way grants to help those that these agencies can’t help through state and federal funds is very important,” Pottinga said. “And the increasing demand for that has really grown, especially for the last couple of years.”

Pottinga said that about 75 percent of the money the United Way of the Shenandoah Valley receives goes to their grant pool.

According to Pottinga, that grant funding was spread between 35 local nonprofits last year.

“Those agencies really do rely on the grant funding to be able to run projects or programs that are important to the community,” Pottinga said.

So far this year, the organization has received just over $800,000 in donations, according to the news release. The group is aiming to raise $1.1 million by the end of the year, the release states.

That figure is slightly higher than what the organization has received in recent years. The United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley has received about $1 million in contributions in each of the past three years, according to filings with the Internal Revenue Service.