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`UNITED’ ISN’T THE ONLY `WAY’ TO GIVE
ALTERNATIVE CHARITIES GAIN LARGER SHARE OF WORKPLACE PHILANTHROPY

SHARE `UNITED’ ISN’T THE ONLY `WAY’ TO GIVE
ALTERNATIVE CHARITIES GAIN LARGER SHARE OF WORKPLACE PHILANTHROPY

Alternative charities, most of them existing outside the United Way umbrella, are a growing factor in workplace charity campaigns across the nation, a new study released Saturday showed.

The study, by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, said over 100 alternative funds to the United Way campaigns are soliciting contributions for some 2,000 charities that receive no United Way funds.Although many of the charities work in controversial areas often shunned by United Way - organizations of activist blacks, women and environmentalists - others are more mainstream, including health agencies such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association and international service organizations such as CARE.

"United Ways' monopoly of workplace funding is long gone," said Robert Bothwell, executive director of the committee. "What was once an aberration 20 years ago has become `de riguer' today."

According to the report, the alternative charities expect to raise $105 million in 1989, a major expansion since 1982 when they raised $38 million.

About 750 firms allow the alternative or "progressive" funds to raise donations through workplace drives and another 2,000 allow the combined health agencies - health groups not included in United Way - to raise funds.

United Way campaigns raised $2.78 billion in 1988, two-thirds of which came from workplace solicitations. The first once-a-year payroll deduction charity drive now known as United Way was in 1940 at the Ford Motor Co., and there are now 2,300 local United Way chapters.

For many years, according to Bothwell, most companies allowed only United Ways to solicit funds from employees at the job site. But in the 1960s, some health and international charities outside United Way began to chip away at the monopoly.

In the 1970s, blacks began to organize and mount separate fund-raising campaigns, and in the 1980s women's groups, environmental groups and a wide variety of social action organizations also began to put together alternative funds to solicit in the workplace.

"Their agendas include childcare issues, protecting the wilderness, low-income housing, workers' health and safety and peace issues - essentially controversial issues United Way won't touch with a 10-foot pole," Bothwell said.

Bothwell said there are 51 "progressive" funds competing with the United Way for the charitable dollar. He estimated the "progressive" funds will raise $36 million of the total $105 million raised by alternative groups.

For alternative funds, the biggest breakthrough came in 1987 when the Combined Federal Campaign, the charity drive for 4 million government employees, allowed non-United Ways groups to solicit funds. The CFC raises some $165 million annually.

Bothwell said previous studies have shown that when alternative charities are included in workplace drives, giving to United Way campaigns go up as well.