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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | COUNTYWIDE

Volunteers Allocate United Way Funds

July 12, 1998|RICHARD WARCHOL

United Way officials have raised $3.4 million to support county nonprofit organizations next year.

More than $600,000 will go to United Way programs for children, families, people afflicted with HIV and AIDS and community leadership efforts, officials announced Friday.

Another $919,600 will be used to support programs for at-risk children, $507,700 will go to health programs, $177,800 will go to crisis intervention and $90,583 will be spent on senior-citizen programs.

The money is allocated by more than 150 volunteers who review applications from various nonprofit organizations, evaluate their program results and make final funding decisions.

United Way officials, however, have had to cut allocations next year to help wipe out a $1.2-million deficit.

Building for about four years, the deficit accumulated because officials counted pledges that did not materialize and spent money before the results of fund-raising campaigns were known, United Way officials have said.

Recognizing the problem, the agency in February hired a new director, Sheryl Wiley Solomon, who has instituted several new strategies to eliminate the deficit over the next three years.

Solomon, a former member of the St. Louis United Way who for nine years served on the United Way of America's National Corporate Leadership Advisory Council, is instituting new accounting models to more accurately project fund-raising proceeds.

She also plans to shorten the United Way's fund-raising season to four months, from September through December, in an effort to more aggressively track and publicize the annual campaign.

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