Harlem School District Says No To United Way Donations

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

After United Way cuts funding to the Harlem Community Center, the Harlem School District says its coming to the rescue. District employees will no longer be able to make payroll donations to United Way... but direct deposits to the Community Center are still welcome...and encouraged.

"It's a challenge it was scary to see what could happen to us in this next year because a loss of this size which primarily covers our operating cost meant we might need to do some restructuring," says H.C.C. Executive Director Shannon Scheffel.

The Community Center used to get 65-thousand dollars a year from United Way, but was told their programs didn't meet it's expectations. And to add more fuel to the fire...just one month earlier...part of the center's facility went up in flames.

The Center's garage burnt down in June, causing more than $100,000 in damage. So with the cost of the fire plus loss of funds...makes for one stressful summer.

"It's our 49th year and when we should be thinking about our 50th anniversary and what we can be doing to celebrate now we're struggling to keep our doors open," Scheffel says.

The Harlem Community Center asked the school board for an emergency fund to help keep them up and running. But because this would require tax payer dollars, the board suggested payroll deductions instead.

"If people are already giving and want to continue to give and are into helping these organizations...there's an opportunity," says Harlem School Board President Sandi Johnson.

The Harlem School Board says if employees want to continue donating to United Way...they may do so on their own.

Representatives from United Way will be meeting with Harlem Superintendent Pat Deluca and Board President Sandi Johnson sometime next week to further discuss its relationship with the United Way.


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