NEWPORT, Ky. — In light of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s underperforming 2018 fundraiser and the accompanying 20 percent cuts to all its nonprofit funding, Brighton Center CEO Tammy Weidinger is prepared for her own organization to tighten its belt. The year 2019 will see some positions eliminated and some services curtailed as Weidinger and others struggle to absorb a $263,000 blow without harming the 43,700 people who depend on them.
She’s worried, she admitted Tuesday night.
“The whole thing about, ‘Do more with less,’ there is a point where you can’t keep doing that,” she said.
Brighton Center, which connects families in need with childcare, emergency shelter, financial education and other services, will enter the new year with its lowest level of United Way funding since the ‘90s.
The shortfall will force the organization to seek out additional sources of cash and add to employees’ workloads in the meantime. Some things, Weidinger said, will simply need to be set aside.
The United Way is a significant source of funds for about 140 organizations in the Cincinnati area, some more dependent on it than others. Freestore Foodbank’s large budget, which is drawn from a variety of sources, allowed it to absorb the news of a cut without flinching. Smaller beneficiaries such as Brighton Center and Cincinnati Works will likely feel the loss more keenly.
According to Weidinger, the United Way told her it was reconsidering its funding model in light of 2018’s disappointment. It could shift to a yearlong fundraiser instead of one spanning a short period of time or explore another strategy entirely.
She still believes Cincinnati is a generous community. If the United Way continues to fall short, there are other avenues she can pursue to close the financial gap and maintain Brighton’s most critical programs in coming years.
“While it will be a loss, I don’t think it will be a devastating loss to our mission,” she said. “(However,) if it looks like the campaign is going to continue to be spiraling down, we’ll have to make bigger, more significant cuts. What that’s going to look like, I couldn’t really say at this moment.”