CHAPEL HILL – The Seymour Senior Center will have to find additional funding for its wellness programs this year as an 11-year relationship came to an end this month.
“We have received funding from the United Way for 11 consecutive years,” president of the Friends of the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center, Inc., Walt Mack says. “It was almost like I guess we got a little bit too staid, if you will, in the matter in which we receive the funds. But, we’ve always been very attentive in our requests.”
United Way of the Greater Triangle informed the Seymour Center in mid-February that its request for funding this year had been denied. An expected total of more than $8,000 was expected and already built into the budget.
But, Angie Welsh of United Way says the organization only has a limited amount of resources to hand out each year.
“In Orange County in 2013, there was a total of $420,000 (give or take) that was distributed to programs,” Welsh says.
And in order to distribute the money in a fair and equal way, there are a number of criteria the beneficiaries must meet.
“The most highly weighted of the criteria is program performance,” Welsh says. “So in a nutshell, that means we look at the dollars that we’ve invested in a program and we evaluate how well the program did (with) what they said they were going to do with the money.”
She says performance accounts for 40 percent of the program’s score. Welsh says other criteria include the priority the program addresses, a program proposal outline, and participation points that agencies can earn.
Mack says many of the seniors that use the program provided by the Seymour Center really don’t have anywhere else to go.
“It behooves us to try to find some other means in which we can replace the more than $8,000 that we will need,” Mack says. “But, I’ve very confident that we will find a way. It will take some doing, but we feel that the Wellness Program is vital to the Seymour Center.”
But, Welsh says all is not lost for the Chapel Hill-based senior center.
“We have a two-year funding cycle,” Welsh says. “But, programs that lose funding or experience reduced funding are able to apply again about a year from now.”
Mack says until that time, the Board of Directors at the Friends of the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center is brainstorming about other ways to raise the money that is already in the budget. He says they might put together a fundraising event or a letter-writing campaign. Additionally, he says part of the plan for the future includes requesting feedback from the United Way to make sure the program passes when it can apply again in a year.
To see the letter from the United Way of the Greater Triangle to the Seymour Center, click here.