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Needs Dictate How Much Was Allocated

July 10, 1994

* The board of directors of United Way of Greater Los Angeles has approved the distribution of $46 million to support health and human services in the community in 1994-95, including $29.3 million to United Way agencies and organizations. An important point that was left out of Doug Smith's recent article ("United Way Cuts Grants," June 26) is that this is the same amount distributed in 1993-94.

Our 400 community volunteers who participated in United Way's fund allocations process were committed to directing the available dollars to programs that address the most pressing issues in local communities. Their decisions were based on the findings of local needs studies conducted by United Way's six regional operations in the Los Angeles area.

Many of the multi-regional agencies that received funding cuts from the United Way North Angeles region received increases in funding from other United Way regions. The North Angeles region endeavored to support the current member agencies and at the same time provide flexibility to respond to emerging needs. All local United Way regional offices have discretionary funds available to make periodic grants throughout the year to agencies serving the priority needs of specific local target populations. Some of these discretionary funds will be used to make emergency grants for unforeseen calamities and technical assistance.

Above and beyond the funds that were distributed to agencies through the regular allocations process, United Way contributed to agencies providing services to victims of the Jan. 17 earthquake. Since the earthquake was centered in the service area of United Way's North Angeles region, a high percentage of these funds were allocated to agencies serving the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys. Additionally, we work diligently with the American Red Cross and other organizations to encourage philanthropic giving and to build an awareness of available services.

The writer was correct in pointing out that in times of expanding needs and fewer dollars available to support agencies providing such vital community services, United Way volunteers have had to make some difficult funding decisions. These volunteers and the regional staff that support them should be commended for their leadership and dedication to expanding caring and compassion in the greater Los Angeles community.

JONATHAN JACOBS

Los Angeles

Jacobs is board chairman of the North Angeles Region of United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

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