United Way cuts funds to Catholic Charities

United Way cuts funds to Catholic Charities

The United Way of Massachusetts Bay is changing the way it gives out money and in the process Catholic Charities gets its portion cut. United Way is a series of regional groups that organize workplace fundraisers that funnel money to a variety of charities, including, in some cases, pro-abortion groups. Now the eastern Massachusetts organization is going to redirect $3.6 million of its $34 million budget to new programs.

“The venture fund pot allows us to invest in organizations that are new for us,” said Little. “If they work, then we’ll embrace them.” If they don’t, he said, “then we’ll try something out.”


Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston will take a $227,000 hit, according to J. Bryan Hehir, president of the charity. Hehir said he was well aware of United Way’s plan to shift its giving strategy, but was unprepared for the size of the cut. “I didn’t have any idea of it until they talked to me today,” he said.

Last year, Catholic Charities received $1.4 million from the United Way. Of this, about $300,000 came from donors who asked specifically that their money should go to Catholic Charities. The other $1.1 million came from the United Way general fund.

But for fiscal 2008, Hehir has been told to expect $873,000 from this fund, plus whatever targeted donations come in.

Hehir worried that the funding cut would affect his agency’s program to provide emergency food aid and money to poor families. “So we’ll have to go out and raise resources for that area,” he said. But Hehir added that he still considers the United Way “a good partner to collaborate with. We’re grateful for what we’ve gotten from them and what we will get from them.”

Perhaps not so obviously, the regional United Ways are somewhat independent of their sister groups around the country. I know that some of those groups do work with problematic charities. So does anyone know if United Way of Massachusetts Bay supports organizations inimical to the mission and values of the Catholic Church? If so, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to sever ties with them. After all, the good end of providing social services to the needy would not justify cooperating with an organization that funds evil, if in fact it does.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli