Letter: Kenai Peninsula United Way to cease operations

  • Tuesday, August 22, 2017 8:13pm
  • Opinion

A letter to the residents of the Kenai Peninsula

The mission of the Kenai Peninsula United Way is to raise money by centralized, low cost solicitation of contributions for the support of qualified Kenai Peninsula charities. Our organization has fulfilled this obligation since its inception in September of 1985.

Through the years, KPUW has maintained a small office of paid part-time staff and volunteers. These individuals have worked diligently to provide our many Member Agencies as much monies as possible to reach their goals of helping our friends and neighbors in need.

In the past eight years, we have experienced a down-turn of 77 percent in charitable giving and increasingly find that we are in competition with our Member Agencies for the same donors and the same dollars. The Board of Directors has taken steps to reduce our operating costs by 50 percent, moved into quarters donated by the City of Kenai and other cost-saving measures. KPUW has assured our donors that at least 85 percent of each dollar donated gets to our member agencies. This model of efficiency has raised over $12 million over the past 30 years. The Board has realized that this goal is no longer attainable.

Therefore, the Board of Directors, of the Kenai Peninsula United Way, find it to be in the best interests of our organization to dissolve effective June 30, 2018. This will allow us to close out the current campaign and provide funding for our Member Agencies through that period. At that time, United Way Worldwide will assign the Peninsula Zip Codes to United Way of Anchorage to continue to provide collection of funds. It will become imperative that you consider “designating to your favorite non-profit” so that Peninsula agencies will continue to be the recipient of funds through the United Way program.

There are so many to thank for their support over the years and we would be remiss not to mention our local oil industry and their employees, local businesses and many citizens from the private sector who have so generously donated to our campaigns. Your support has truly been appreciated and you have provided the means by which our program has succeeded over the past thirty-two years.

The decision to dissolve was not reached without a great deal of discussion, deliberation and heart-felt sadness. The Kenai Peninsula Board of Directors wish all our Member Agencies much success in their future quests to continue to provide as much assistance as possible to those in need. Their efforts are not diminishing but expanding in this down-turn in our economy and we urge you to please assist them wherever and whenever possible.

Again, our thanks to each and every one of you.

Sincerely,

Kenai Peninsula United Way Board of Directors

Jeffrey Dolifka

Dale Bagley

Bill Coghill

Rick Ross

Mike Frost

Diana Zirul

Ron Long

Michael Burton