United Way budget cut

By Adam Hooper - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The United Way is another organization that is not immune to the struggling economy. They are being forced to make cuts to some of the funding it gives to other organizations.

Shane Azam was a little brother when he was ten. Now, to return the favor, he is a big brother.

"We do everything. Bowling, fishing, putt putting, we eat out all of the time. We have a good time," said Shane Azam

But, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters agency, along with several others, will be working with less. The United Way, an organization that funds programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters, is making cuts.

"They looked at what programs could sustain a reduction in services. We did have some youth programs and agencies that were cut, but no more that 9.5-percent of their overall budget," said Denis Durel, CEO and President of SWLA United Way.

For Big Brothers and Big Sisters, who have already taken cuts from other funding sources, said this will make things even harder.

"The loss of 50-percent of our United Way allocation is tremendously traumatic for Big Brothers and Big Sisters," said Fred Rickman, Executive Director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of SWLA. Obviously we have to make some major cuts.

With the cuts, one big brother is worried that the little brothers and sisters will suffer.

"I am concerned. We are already having difficulty finding bigs, female or male. To hear that they are going down or taking away, it is going to be worse than it already is," said Azam.

"It's going to be a real struggle for us to make it," said Rickman.

Denise Durel with the United way released the following statement about the budget cuts:

"This year, the economic situation had a direct impact on the United Way campaign, here in Southwest Louisiana, and our board had the difficult task of handling an unprecedented shortfall. Unfortunately it resulted in program funding that had to be reduced, because the dollars simply aren't available. However, thanks to the support of our community, we are continuing to provide local services to thousands of people, right here in Southwest Louisiana." - Denis Durel, CEO/President SWLA United Way.

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