The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 2, 2012

United Way board votes to cut funds to RSVP


Longtime agency

RSVP is part of a network of more than 760 RSVP’s throughout the United States and provides volunteer opportunities for people age 55 and older in Athens and Limestone County. The volunteers help nonprofit and public agencies such as schools, libraries, social service agencies, museums, county and city offices, the courts, hospitals and others.

RSVP receives funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the United Way and the state of Alabama, though a third of its money comes from private foundations, area corporations, and individual donors throughout Athens and Limestone County, according to RSVP’s website.

An RSVP financial statement supplied by United Way for fiscal 2010-2011, shows the agency received a total of $243,715 in funding from various sources, including $165,643 in federal funding, $40,409 in in-kind contributions, $19,000 from United Way and $18,662 in state funding.

The city of Athens also provides funding for RSVP in exchange for services. In fiscal 2011, the city gave RSVP $20,000, though the executive director had requested $40,000. (It is not unusual for an agency to receive less than it seeks.)

The County Commission did give RSVP about $2,500 this year during a recent dinner for storm volunteers, Limestone County Commission Chairman Stanley Menefee said Friday. Menefee, who is also a United Way board member, declined at this time to specify the issues concerning United Way’s suspension of funding.

United Way has had to suspend or terminate funding to other agencies in the past. The agency severed ties with the Food and Shelter Program in May 2008 based on what McFarlen called, “non-compliance and lack of cooperation with the management review process being taken with United Way of Athens-Limestone County agencies.”

She and the United Way board hope the RSVP board will resolve the issues.

“The United Way of Athens-Limestone County takes the trust and responsibility that the public has placed in our organization seriously and will act to take whatever steps necessary to ensure our donors that the operations, programs and services supported by United Way are delivered to our community at the highest level,” McFarlen said.


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