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.

  • That’s a volunteerism link so I guess it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re giving them money. All the same, it doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy seeing them working together. I think it requires some more digging.

  • Oh, the United Way…for corporate CEOs to force (oh, sorry, request … just don’t be surprised if your bonus is smaller than you expected if you don’t respond positively) their managers to make them look Charitable.

    Anyway, my rule in the past with the United Way was to specifically direct my money to a lowly local Catholic group that had little infrastructure. Never give an undirected gift to the UW, as it will fund things you won’t approve of.

  • Bonus? What bonus?

    Oh dear, that explains it!

    I haven’t given to UW for eons because of their refusal to give to the Boy Scouts (because the Boy Scouts refused to allow gays to join) and the scandal many years ago regarding the compensation that the executives at UW got.

  • Lynne

    Some people have a portion of what might otherwise have been base wage/salary converted into less secure “incentive compensation”. Many of those people would prefer it all to be wage/salary. OF course there are people whose bonuses are obscene, but in general they are a tiny percentage of the people getting “bonuses” in my experience. “Bonus” sounds lux, but in fact it can be worse than “wage” because it depends not only on performance (of the individual and organization – which is not a bad thing) but on a variety of whims and caprices that are not always relevent but nevertheless obtain…like who’s boss can shout and threaten loudest at the last budget meeting.

  • I just came across this post and wanted to clarify a few things.  Full Disclosure, I work for a United Way and support the changes they’ve made in their investment strategy.  I am not writing to negate your opinions on it, but rather to give some more background information on some innacuracies I noticed in the responses. I appreciate your willingness to open this up to all respondants.
    1. Planned Parenthood is not among our affiliate agencies, which means we do not invest in their organization. We don’t focus on healthcare. The link listed is an open volunteer page.  Any volunteer opportunity can go up there. 
    2. The scandal one response refers to happened more than 10 years ago in the national UW in Washington D.C. and it did not have to do with compensation. Rather a corrupt, (frankly, horrible) man stole money from United Way. It was awful and we’ve been recovering ever since. United Way holds itself and its affiliates to the highest level of accountability. It’s one of our primary values and is inherent in our investment strategy.
    3. On the Boyscouts. We require all of our agencies to comply with a non-discrimination policy. In July of 2001, the Boston Minuteman Council adopted a policy of non-discrimination that is consistent with UW’s standards and we continued to fund them at that point. Clearly, there are differing views on “non-discrimination” but we believe strongly in our standards.

    That’s all for now.  I hope this has been helpful.  I am submitting it with the best of intentions.  Debate, especially in something you believe in, is always good, but it’s important to have all the facts.  Thank you for your time.