Area senior centers denied United Way funding

United Way is shifting its focus to "breaking the cycle of poverty," and in some cases senior centers aren't in alignment with the new goal.

United Way is shifting its focus to alleviate poverty, and that may be bad news for some local senior centers.

Snohomish Senior Center is one of several local centers that didn't get their grant request approved this funding cycle.

"It's 4 percent of our budget, doesn't sound like a lot, but 4 percent in any amount is a huge amount of money," said Bob Dvorak, Executive Director of Snohomish Senior Center.

He said they'll have to make up for it through more fundraising, and make adjustments to some of their free computer classes.

Dvorak understands the goal to conquer poverty but he said it's obviously coming at a cost.

United Way is trying to help break the cycle of poverty over a lifespan, and in some cases senior centers aren't in alignment with the new goal.

East County Senior Center in Monroe also didn't get its grant request approved this year. Executive Director Jacob McGee said that's $30,000 they've been getting every year for the past 40 years.

"We're going to do more fundraising; we're going to do more asking,” McGee said. “It's going to hurt the seniors. It's going to hurt programming.”

United Way of Snohomish County received 107 grant requests for this funding cycle, with $2 million to invest.

56 programs were approved and most of those programs serve seniors, but the programs have a targeted vision of alleviating poverty.

Dennis Smith, President and CEO of United Way Snohomish County said volunteers looked at several factors when considering which programs would get money, and one of the main goals was to see how the programs combat hunger and homelessness.

He encouraged the senior centers to apply again next funding cycle.

Sabrina Register of United Way of King County wanted to emphasize that United Way is still dedicated to supporting seniors. For example, it still helps fund Langdon and Anne Simmons senior house, which is housing specifically for formerly homeless seniors.

Copyright 2016 KING


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