United Way reduces funding for youth oriented programs

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Just weeks ago the United Way found out they were going to be faced with budget reductions this coming fiscal year.

The reductions will affect youth oriented programs in the area including the Boy Scouts of America.

While the Boy Scouts is geared toward creating strong young men, their strength is now being tested as 9.5% of their overall budget has been reduced for the next year.

"It's not because of the morals and the principles that we stand for as Boy Scouts of America, but rather it is because of the current economic downturn," says Kevin McMurrian, Council Executive for the Boy Scouts in Lake Charles.

McMurrian says this reduction puts hiring needed staff positions on hold.

"We need to have a paid professional on the ground running to provide the resources and materials to help serve those kids," says McMurrian.

But the Boy Scouts aren't the only ones feeling the impact.

"It really is due to our corporate donations being down this year," says Denise Durel, President and CEO of United Way.

Durel says all youth oriented programs can expect a reduction.

"The board looked at programs that could sustain a reduction in services," says Durel. "We did have some youth programs and agencies that were reduced. However, they were not reduced more than 9.5 % of their overall budget."

But United Way isn't reducing spending in all their services.

"The board thought it was important to provide services that they deemed emergency type services such as shelter and food," says Durel.

The United Way felt youth oriented programs were strong enough to make it even with a few spending reductions.

McMurrian says even with the spending reductions, they are not going to let this get in the way of their services to the Boy Scouts in southwest Louisiana.

"It's all about attitude," says McMurrian. "There may be challenges at times, we'll definitely have to go out in the community and raise more money. We're hoping this will be just a temporary thing."

If you are interested in assisting to determine how campaign dollars are allocated to programs administered by United Way's 35 local family agencies, become a member of the Allocation & Review (A&R) Committee by contacting the United Way office at (337) 433-1088.

Copyright 2009 KPLC. All rights reserved.