Fairfax Pets on Wheels Charity Concerned Over United Way Funding
The charity provides pet therapy in Fairfax County.
A Fairfax charity that brings pets to visit the elderly is concerned that new guidelines set forth by the local United Way chapter could effect their funding.
“With the loss of donations via the United Way, we will be severely crippled as this will cut our fundraising almost in half,” said Tracy Van Duston, who is the president on the board of directors for Fairfax Pets on Wheels.
The nonprofit "pet therapy" group has been active for 25 years and brings dogs, cats, and rabbits to nursing homes and assisted living facilities in 14 locations throughout the county.
They receive $15,000 from donations collected through the United Way of the National Capital Area each year, money which Van Duston said usually goes toward training for recruitment, training, and administrative costs. Last year, Pets on Wheels collected $40,000 in donations, and the year prior it was $45,000.
“It’s quite unfortunate we are being judged on our ability to raise money,” Van Duston said. The group has a waiting list for their services.
The United Way board voted last month that in order to receive funding from them, charities have to collect donations of at least $50,000 per year. The changes wouldn’t kick in until the next fiscal year, which begins in July 2013.
“We are tightening up our membership criteria a bit so that donors can increase their confidence so that they know their members are meeting certain standards,” said Kerry Morgan, senior vice president in marketing at communications at the local United Way.
Morgan adds that about 60 of their over 700 charities were deemed most at risk of losing funding. All of the charities will have the chance to attend workshops on how to increase donations. They are also giving advice on just how to report their revenue, which includes in-kind donations.
She also said that charities like Pets on Wheels, which report overhead costs of just 11 percent, could be spared. Staff may have some discretion based on the financials.
“They are in a stone's throw of the revenue,” Morgan said. “We are guessing that they are probably going to be fine.”
All charities are also encouraged to reapply for membership even if they are not sure whether they will qualify. The application period is in the fall.
To learn more about Pets on Wheels or to donate, visit their website.