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Houston Breakthrough, September 1979
Page 12
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Houston Breakthrough, September 1979 - Page 12. September 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. February 1, 2015. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/536/show/520.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(September 1979). Houston Breakthrough, September 1979 - Page 12. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/536/show/520

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, September 1979 - Page 12, September 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed February 1, 2015, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/536/show/520.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, September 1979
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date September 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Texas
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 28 page periodical
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 12
File Name femin_201109_553al.jpg
Transcript Before you give at the office,.. Inside the corporate doors of big business, philanthropic fundraising is becoming just that—big business. Nationwide, there are some 2,300 United Ways. If United Way were a profit-making business, it would rank 195th in the Fortune 500. United Way "loaned executives" are engineering donation plans with upper management for the funding of human service agencies. But, unlike most business enterprises, there is no pressure from competitors on United Way. Last year, 86.8 percent of United Way organizations had no competition at any of the companies that allowed them to solicit. According to researcher David Horton Smith, "The vast majority of American employees and executives involved in deciding to give to charity at their workplace are participating in the equivalent of a Russian election: they can give to the only candidate (the United Way) or none at all." The concept of United Way began in 1921, when the Community Chest was established at the request of businesses besieged from every direction for charitable donations. Community Chest consolidated the various charity campaigns into one operation, which became the United Fund in 1951. More agencies were added, and the "fair-share giving guide" was developed. This year the name was changed to United Way. The Community Chest consolidation created a monopolistic giant in the charity world, fostering disparity in funding and discrimination in deciding which groups would qualify, asserts the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). The NCRP is a broad-based coalition of public interest and social action groups and includes organizations as diverse as the National Council of Churches, Common Cause, and the National Organization for Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund. Under NCRP's guidance, local coalitions are organized to examine their communities' philanthropic institutions, particularly foundations, corporate givers and the subject of this story-United Way. Robert Bothwell, NCRP executive director, claims that the slogan "a gift to the United Way works for all of us" is simply false advertising. Of major concern to NCRP is the small number of charities funded by United Way and the virtual monopoly* United Way has on fundraising in the workplace. Of the more than five million charitable groups in this country, United Way funds only 37,000. "United Ways do much good work," admits Bothwell, speaking for the NCRP, but "they definitely do not work for all of us. If you look back at the four or five major social action and public interest movements in this country during the last decade-the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the environment, older Americans, and other ethnic activist movements—you'll find funding of such organizations by and large negligible." NCRP charges that funding for charities benefitting women and minorities is comparatively lower than that for more "traditional" organizations. Traditional agencies are also favored year after year for the same or greater- amounts of money, at the exclusion of newer, struggling, non-traditional charities. The United Way traditionally answers by saying that United Ways are open systems, that any charity can apply and if it meets standards, be accepted as a by Christine LeLaurin The Young Men s Christian Association is now a standard recipient of charitable contributions. But if George Williams, the 22-year-old dry-goods clerk who started the Y.M.C.A. more than a century ago in England, were starting up in America today, he would have great difficulty getting philanthropic funds for his work. According to the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy, Mr. Williams' venture, like today's women's groups, minority organizations and public interest organizations, would be at(nontraditional donee", too new, too risky and too controversial to get money from traditional charity sources. In addition, his age and occupation, like those of many in today's nontraditional organizations, would effectively make him unable to influence the philanthropic circles of power - mainly the white, middle-aged and successful males who govern corporate and foundation giving. -Karen DeWitt The New York Times June 24, 19 79 member agency. These standards require that any agency seeking admission must have been in operation for at least two years and not be severely limited by fiscal indebtedness. In other words, like getting a bank loan, you first have to prove you don't need one. Houston's United Way, which also serves much of the Texas Gulf Coast area, is no exception to the general rule. Local executive director Frank Cleaver admits that the NCRP charge of monopoly workplace solicitation is "essentially true." He reiterates that United Way grew out of Community Chest, which was established to remedy the situation of separate and numerous fund drives in businesses. His answer is consistent with the 1976 comment of a Santa Clara, California, United Way executive: "United Way didn't want a monopoly, the employers did." Although both United Way and the NCRP agree that it is impossible for one umbrella agency to represent all charities, NCRP's Bothwell contends that, because United Way funds so few charities, "it is extraordinarily unfair for United Way to have a virtual monopoly over the most efficient technology for raising money ever devised: on-the-job solicitation of employees." Last year, in Houston, a dispute arose between the National Association of Letter* Carriers and U.S. Postal Service officials over new prohibitions against collecting for charities other than United Way on the workroom floor. The union letter carriers wanted to collect donations from co-workers for muscular dystrophy and sickle cell anemia, but were prohibited by postal service officials, because it felt that too many charity collections would interfere with work. Bothwell believes that businesses should allow their employees "a choice of charities to support through the convenient and lucrative method of payroll deduction." He cites surveys showing that people want this choice, and that given the choice people will give more of their salary dollar. So, Bothwell contends, open workplace solicitation would benefit all charities, not just those currently excluded from United Way. To demonstrate his point, Bothwell recalls what happened in five of six cities in which United Ways competed with other groups from the Combined Health Agencies Drives (CHADs) which are federations of charities like American Cancer Society and American Heart Association. "In those five cities, while giving to the health agency drives increased dramatically, giving to the United Way also increased at a rate equal to the national average for all United Ways. In other words, just as true competition is healthy in the marketplace, so too would it be healthy in the charity community." Locally United Way funds 55, or less than one fourth, of the approximately 230 charitable organizations in Houston. "It's all a matter of logistics," explains a Houston United Way volunteer. "There are many worthy agencies, [but] simply not enough money to divert to new agencies." Qualifying for United Way support is tough in Houston, as it is elsewhere. Thirty-four agencies asked for new funding this year. Twenty-four of those were ineligible. Some were national in scope, without a local unit, others duplicated services provided by other United Way funded agencies or offered services that could be funded by the public sector. Of the remaining 10 agencies, four withdrew voluntarily during the initial phases of the admissions process. Three were eventually funded. Only 1.5 new agencies a year are funded, on the average, by 294 of the largest United Way organizations. Last year only one new agency was admitted to Houston's United Way. Two of the three new local agencies are women's organizations—the Houston Area Women's Center and the Recovery Center. Existing member agencies serving women received the following support: Rogers St., $19,643 (an intermediate residential recovery center for alcoholic women offered by Volunteers of America); ENCORE, $10,000 (a post- mastectomy rehabilitation program offered by YWCA), and Women for Work, $28,620 (a program to help women decide on and secure optimal employment, operated by Vocational Guidance Services, Inc.). Although these newly funded programs represent an attempt to meet the needs of women, disparity in funding still exists: Allocations for Girl Scouts ($385,816) equal half of that for Boy Scouts ($731,264). Moreover, allocations for Campfire Girls ($129,100) and Girl Scouts combined ($514,916) equal not quite three fourths of those earmarked for Boy Scouts alone. The gift to YWCA ($712,510) still lags slightly behind that of YMCA ($760,503). A United Way information sheet on services to women reports that "of the agencies supported by the United Way only two are devoted exclusively or primarily to males. Nine are devoted to the needs of females. All other agencies serve both males and females. In fact," the summary continues, "beneficiary data show that well over half of those served by United Way funded agencies are female." In fact, the nine exclusively female agencies collectively receive 11.4 percent of the allocations budget of $15.3 million. Only three agencies among the 55 members of Houston's United Way are identifiable as minority agencies—the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans, Houston Area Urban League and La Clinica de Consulta Familiar. None are among the 10 highest funded agencies. They receive a combined total of $406,000 or 2.6 percent of the allocations for fiscal year 1979-80. Madgelean Bush, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center calls the United Way funding "discriminative," adding "It does not relate to the needs of the low-income agencies. . ." Pluria Marshall, executive director of Houston's Operation Breadbasket, aired strong objections to both United Way's minority funding practices and restrictions imposed on member agencies. "The United Way is an agency that simply does not give a damn about the minority community . . . most of its money goes to what we call 'safe programs.' "The money they give is to recreation programs and social service programs that target the effects of the problem-not the problem. We [Operation Breadbasket] try to eliminate the problem by getting people jobs and business contracts. We put pressure on folks to make them treat all Americans the same. "That one activity would disqualify us. We would have to be dealing against some of the very people who run the United Way. There are probably several members on the United Way Board who we've either put a picket line up on or a boycott against." Rev. Ray Martin, general director of the Progressive Amateur Boxing Association (PABA), re-emphasizes what Bush and Marshall say about minority admission to United Way: "I don't think they're just and fair toward black organizations. I don't think they're fair toward minorities or any organization that hasn't traditionally been part of it." In May, 1975, one local paper reported that a two-year-old conflict between United Way and the Eliza Johnson Center for the Aged had come to a head when the Center rejected what they called a "humiliating" offer of $11,000, a mere 1.7 percent of their $645,000 operating budget. Board members for the center accused United Way of discrimination and of yielding to pressures from the center's commercial competitors in order to drive the center out of business. United Way claimed the center was overstaffed and wasteful. They denied racial discrimination charges, noting that many blacks receive help through funded agencies and that blacks participated in United Way's decisions about the center. In 1975, there were reports of clashes between United Way and the Mexican- American community. Mexican-American leaders charged that United Way failed to respond to the needs of their community and suggested a community boycott against contributions to United Way. State Rep. Ben T. Reyes noted several Mexican-American organizations that had applied to the United Way for membership were turned down-the Chicano Training Center, the Mexican-American Education Council and the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans, which United Way now funds on a non-member affiliate basis. Soon after the announcement of the boycott, Frederico Souflee Jr., executive director of the Chicano Training Center, told the Post that Houston's United Way funding was lagging 25 years behind that HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH 12 SEPTEMBER 1979