Kenai Peninsula United Way plans dissolution

Aug 24, 2017

The United Way of the Kenai Peninsula is closing its doors. In a letter to the community published Wednesday, the board of directors cited a downturn in charitable giving of 77-percent over the past eight years.

Borough Assemblyman Dale Bagley sits on the Kenai Peninsula United Way Board. He was asked about the dissolution on KDLL's Kenai Conversation.

"Some of it probably has to do with the low oil prices has had an impact on it. But I think a lot of it was just a change in the way the producers on the Kenai Peninsula and the how they do their charitable giving," he said. "So United Way wasn't able to do the employee and have the employer matches like they used to do. And that had a big, big, big impact on United Way's bottom line."

Bagley said that was one major shift that doomed the United Way. The other was competition for charitable dollars, such as through the Pick Click Give PFD program.

"The way people can fundraise now, especially with the (Alaska Permanent Fund) Dividend, United Way was competing with their member agencies," he said, adding, "United Way isn't a charity, (it) just passes money on to their member agencies."

In their letter, the board of directors claim 85-percent of money raised goes to the member agencies, and that it's raised $12-million over the past 30 years.

The dissolution is scheduled for the end of the current fiscal year, June 30, 2018. At that time, the United Way of Anchorage will take over responsibility for the Kenai Peninsula.