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Charity begins at home, and at the University, the house is divided. For many years, the United Way, one of the nation's most respected charitable organizations, was the only organization University employees could donate to through their paychecks. But in the last few years, some employees decided they would rather have more choice. In 1988, the University changed its policy to give employees more say over how their money is spent, but all donations still had to go through the United Way. Supporters of the new plan say it will cut out the added expense of having the United Way as a middleman. But, for the United Way, it means a loss of control over a large portion of the University's $371,000 campaign. United Way officials say placing the other four smaller organizations on as even a level as the United Way, with 2,700 member charities, is unfair. Having recently lost exclusive control over the City of Philadelphia's campaign and the Philadelphia Board of Education's plan, United Way officials have fought tooth and nail to maintain its share of the University's campaign. The University, after the government, is the city's largest employer. For two years, the two sides have fought over the campaign, with employees becoming increasingly disillusioned with the United Way, and the campaign in general. At times, the dispute has become bitter and both sides have accused the other of lying. Southeastern Pennsylvania United Way President Ted Moore summed up the entire dispute, openly stating last month that "The bottom line is money." Either late this week or next week, the issue will come to a head as University employees will have a chance to vote to keep the old program or adopt a combined campaign. President Sheldon Hackney will make a final decision based on this referendum later this semester and put the issue to rest. · When employees choose to donate, their pledge cards have had one option: How much do you want to give to the United Way? The Committee for a Combined Campaign proposes that the new card will allow the donor to give directly to additional fundraising organizations: the United Way, the Black United Fund, United Negro College Fund, Bread and Roses Community Fund, or Womens Way. The United Way has argued that this is superfluous, since donors can select these organizations through its "donor choice" path. For the past 10 years the United Way has allowed donors two alternatives. The donors may request that the United Way allocate their pledge -- with the donor having the ability to target a general area -- or they may choose the "donor choice" system, under which they can select a specific recipient for the money. But Committee for a Combined Campaign representatives say the United Way system is inefficient. When the donation goes to the United Way first, overhead costs are lost. A greater percentage of employee donations actually reach the needy when they donate directly to a specific charity. United Way officials have said they keep their overhead low at about 11 percent, while the four groups that the Committee has endorsed, have an average overhead of about 23 percent. According to the fall 1990 Combined Federal Campaign contributor's brochure for the Philadelphia area, Womens Way's administrative and fundraising costs are about 10 percent, the Black United Fund's are 32 percent; Bread and Roses Community fund spends 30 percent of its total annual income; and the United Negro College Fund, Inc. spends about 24 percent. Combined Campaign Committee member Jane Combrinck-Graham said that her group does not question the United Way's administrative costs, but said the Committee feels it is wasteful to subject donations to the initial United Way cost and then also the individual organization's overhead. "There has been some miscommunication," Combrinck-Graham said. "[The Combined Campaign Committee] is not concerned about the [United Way's] overhead, we are concerned that the donation is deducted from twice." Combrinck-Graham also explained that the United Way deductionss add to a total of 20 percent after subtracting the nine-percent deduction for uncollected pledges whenever someone uses the donor option pathway. United Way spokesperson Joe Divis said his organization determines the overall loss in uncollected pledges annually and deducts it on an equal percentage basis to all chosen organizations. "At the end, there is a shortfall and everyone shares equally . . . any campaign that is conducted will have the uncollectables," Divis said. "We can't pay out what we don't receive." Womens Way Marketing Director Joan Mintz said the deduction for uncollected pledges is not fair since Womens Way's uncollected pledges are much lower than United Way's yearly nine to 10-percent deduction. "No matter what the deduction is, it is not based on our losses," Mintz said. The Committee has asked that four fundraising organizations to be included on the pledge card alongside of the United Way. However, Combrinck-Graham has said that other funnel groups can apply to be on the pledge card. The four organizations are not "member agencies" of the United Way, which means they can only receive donor choice money. The groups argue that the administrative charge they are assessed is higher than the United Way's cost of forwarding them the money. They say much of the administrative charge subsidizes distribution to member groups. Black United Fund President Linda Richardson said earlier this month she felt the United Way's "donor choice" option was an unacceptable system. The Black United Fund's position paper says the donor choice system is merely an attempt to appease donors. The paper said donors think the United Way has made concessions to other groups, but asserts that it is merely a facade. The paper argues that the control of the campaign remains in the hands of the United Way. Richardson's position paper also said that the United Way has attempted to stop other charities from entering the workplace to maintain control of employee dollars. "United Way is not only the chief competitor with non-United Way charities, but has a history of operating as a legal and political adversary of such charities," the position paper added. "[The United Way] uses it's resources to obstruct their inclusion in employee campaigns in both government and private sector arenas." United Way's Divis has argued that by offering the "donor-choice" option, the United Way is a true "combined campaign." In total, the United Way funds over 2,700 organizations througout the Delaware Valley area. He added that the four organizations the Committee has included in its proposal all received money from the donor choice option last year. Divis also said that by allowing "a select few" organizations to gain status on the pledge card alongside the United Way, the groups gain "an unfair marketing advantage." He said various organizations would want to be able to gain donations and would bind together into federations and apply to be on the pledge card. "Then you would have all the organizations knocking on your door again," Divis said. "This is why the United Way was formed over a hundred years ago." Divis also said that by adding more organizations onto the pledge card, someone would have to run the campaign that has traditionally been handled by the United Way. Combined Campaign committee member David Rudovsky said at the Jan. 23 University Council meeting that the Committee's proposal could be run in a cost-efficient manner. · This past year's campaign was the largest ever in the history of the University. The fall charity drive raised $371,000 this year, an increase from $290,000 last year. Both sides agree that the number of participants also increased greatly. However, they dispute the motivation behind the increase. Combined Campaign Committee supporters said the implementation of the partially-combined campaign in the past two years has offered a more direct path to the donor's choice, thereby bringing in more money and more contributors. Rudovsky said the new freedom of choice is directly linked to an increase in donations. United Way supporters argue that they already are a "combined" campaign that offers a large choice to donors and that the increases are unrelated to the efforts of the Committee. But a report by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy concluded that combined campaigns do generate more money. "Multiple charity campaigns increase giving," the report said. "Employees want a choice in their giving options." The 1988 campaign was different from its predecessors in that the president's office allowed the four groups to send literature to donors separate from the United Way. But the four groups still were forced to receive all donations through the United Way's donor choice path. In the fall of 1989, Hackney allowed the four organizations to appear alongside the United Way on the pledge card. The University separated the donations marked to those four groups and sent them directly to avoid the administrative costs of the United Way. "This was a big step," Combrinck-Graham said of the 1989 revisions. "[But,] this was an incremental step, not the full step that the committee is seeking." The committee has various other requests including a system for fundraising organizations to apply to be added to the pledge card. "A set of criteria would be set up," Combrinck-Graham said. "They would have to be consistent with the University's policy of diversity, pluralism, and fairness."

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