The Barry-Lawrence Area United Fund begins its annual drive this week. Board members are hoping for strong community support in light of rising demands and declining donations.
In the past year, the United Fund provided support for 20 area service organizations. According to Ken Dudzik, board president, the United Fund disbursed $44,045 after receiving donations of $32,856.77. The reserve, tapped for several years, has now been exhausted.
Ten years ago, donations to the United Fund reached $46,000. Requests for the coming year have recently been reviewed and totaled $50,296. Deposits received to date stand at $20,776.
"We had some very difficult choices to make this past year," Dudzik said. "Requests are now far outweighing the funds we're likely to have. Unfortunately, when looking at donations for 2012, the money awarded will have to be cut substantially."
The Barry-Lawrence United Fund is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. All money donated stays in the two counties.
The core of funding has come from payroll deductions from employees at the following Monett businesses and industries: EFCO, a Pella company; Jack Henry and Associates; Tyson Foods; the Monett R-1 School District; UMB Bank; Empire District Electric; Miracle Recreation Equipment, a division of PlayPower; WinTech; Modern Variety; Wickman Gardens; Town and Country Supermarket; and Friendly Tire.
During last year's drive, EFCO matched employee donations and has pledged to meet that commitment again this year.
According to Lisa Balmas, United Fund treasurer, individuals beyond those affiliated with payroll deduction programs have supported the United Fund in the past with donations and are welcome to do so again. Information about donating is available by contacting Balmas at UMB Bank at 235-6275.
Letters sent to applicants seeking funds indicated finances were likely to be tight in 2011 and asked for requests to be tailored accordingly.
Organizations receiving funding during the past year were: nine Head Start centers in Aurora, Butterfield, Cassville, Monett, Mt. Vernon and Shell Knob; Boy Scout Troop #38; Linn Thornton's Christmas dinner; Monett Youth Baseball and Softball League; Monett Mighty Mites Football; Monett Project Prom and Graduation; Strike Zone Youth Bowling; Oakview State School Parent Teacher Organization; the Ozark Festival Orchestra's Youth Artist program; Pierce City High School Project Graduation; the Barry-Lawrence County Development Center; Monett Youth Wrestling; the Tri-County Pregnancy Resource Center; Red Ribbon Week; Monett-Purdy Habitat for Humanity; The Den youth center; Barry-Lawrence Regional Library; Barry-Lawrence Crime Stoppers; Monett Area YMCA; and the Monett Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
Funding requests for 2012 will be reviewed in mid-November and funding decisions made by the end of the month, Dudzik said.
Those serving on the United Fund board include Dudzik, Balmas, Mike Brownsberger, Judy Campbell, Linda Dohman, Bonnie Witt-Schulte, Jane Sligar, Jack Schulz, John Jungmann, Mark Nelson and Mona Workes.