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No such thing as a free lunch

To the editor,

We are compelled to respond to a comment made in Stephen Kimber's "Inside the Square" cover story, referring to United Way's decision to stop funding the hot lunch program at Cornwallis Street Church (March 1). All funding decisions are made with serious diligence involving a volunteer group of community members and knowledgeable and capable staff, and are then approved by our board of directors. This program received $295,000 from United Way between 1988 and 1999.

United Way has a responsibility to manage contributions from donors and makes every effort to ensure these donations are directed to charitable organizations that demonstrate accountability, sound financial record-keeping and full transparency. In this particular instance, there was a discrepancy in figures that could not be resolved and funding was initially delayed to give the lunch program organizers time to conduct an audit.

Eventually funding stopped because the audit was never submitted to United Way.

Mr. Marcus James' comments demonstrate that we need to be very clear in our communications so that affected parties understand the rationale behind funding decisions. It is unfortunate that misunderstandings continue even after all this time.  

We are contacting Mr. James directly to explain this in person. We are always improving our current practices to ensure we communicate clearly and fully in all funding matters. Thank you for reminding us of this responsibility.

By Catherine Woodman , CEO

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