Westmoreland United Way, Salvation Army sever ties
The Salvation Army of Westmoreland County won't get any more money from United Way.
And that could mean bad news for the 500 families and 2,000 individuals in the New Kensington and Vandergrift areas served by Salvation Army programs funded by United Way dollars.
Salvation Army officials announced on Tuesday that the groups severed ties, citing sharply declining support from United Way and a requirement to file reports with the Internal Revenue Service as reasons for the break.
United Way funding dropped from $300,000 in 2000 to about $10,000 offered for one program this year, as long as the Salvation Army meets application requirements.
“They really cut ties with us,” said Salvation Army Western Pennsylvania divisional Commander Major William Bode at its New Kensington Worship and Service Center.
It and the Vandergrift service center were the only locations in Westmoreland County being funded by the United Way.
The other service centers and units ended their relationships with the United Way as funding from the agency dried up, said Salvation Army spokeswoman Donna Fencik.
The Salvation Army of Westmoreland County consists of five worship and service centers, four service centers and eleven service units.
In New Kensington, programs funded by United Way include comprehensive and emergency services that provide help with utilities, mortgage payments and emergency food and clothing as well as youth tutoring, mentoring and after-school programs.
Additionally, more than 20,000 people in Westmoreland County received food assistance.
“The loss of United Way dollars will have an impact on that,” said Major Robert Kramer, the Salvation Army's Westmoreland County Coordinator. “We will seek it from our community.”
The Salvation Army is reaching out to donors to try to make up the loss of United Way money.
“The programs and the needs in all of the Salvation Army's communities still need to be met,” said Major Elvie Carter, who runs the New Kensington and Vandergrift centers.
“We have people who are still coming in, the need is still high; we have youth we serve on a daily basis; educational, spiritual, character building programs and social service needs within all of our Salvation Army community.”
The Rev. Mitch Nickols, a member of the Salvation Army advisory board and pastor of Bibleway Christian Fellowship Church in New Kensington, said it's important that the Salvation Army continue to have a community presence.
“The Salvation Army is critical to what we do in this community,” he said.
Salvation Army officials said the relationship with the United Way of Westmoreland County was further strained by requirements for an external audit and now a mandate to complete a Form 990.
The IRS form is required to be completed annually by nonprofits, but churches, as the Salvation Army is classified, are exempt.
“The Salvation Army is not required by law (to file a 990) and it was not a problem, we've had great relationships. But now they're requiring us to have it and we just aren't able to do it,” said Carter.
An external audit required by the United Way costs about $7,000, Salvation Army officials said.
Bobbi Watt Geer, president and CEO of the United Way of Westmoreland County, said for the past 10 years they've required all entities applying for funding to complete a 990 form.
“It provides information on how the organization is operated,” she said.
The United Way of Westmoreland County provided about $54,000 to the New Kensington and Vandergrift Salvation Army center during the past several years. The figure represents 12 percent of the centers' budgets.
This year, Bode said the United Way advised them that the New Kensington center would receive $10,000 for one program in 2014-15.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Tarentum Bridge falcon defends turf as eagles scout nesting locations
- New Kensington man killed in North Buffalo crash
- At-home schooling on snow days far from reality
- Retirements help trim Arnold budget
- Saxonburg machine shop 3 generations strong
- Police investigate reports bus driver allowed Fox Chapel students to change clothes
- New Christmas decorations make Leechburg shine a little brighter