At Issue: Nonprofit Donation Increases Does Not Mean More Human Services

Craig Dellimore
November 24, 2018 - 5:14 pm
At Issue

Craig Dellimore


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A Giving USA report said charitable donations were up five percent in last year and that the economy is improving.

However, Sean Garrett — the new President and CEO United Way of Metro Chicago — said that doesn’t tell the whole story. He said that while giving in general is up, much of the money is going to higher education and religious causes, which are all worthy, but not as much is being given to human services.

Some of the Services include those provided by the group "Austin Coming Together," which helps people hoping to find jobs. Sarah Meyer is Neighborhood Network Coordinator at the program and said the group provides services like training, financial education and community commitment. Often, people arrive at the agency with real world challenges that muight be barriers to finding and keeping work, Meyer added.

"We need more investment on the West Side, especially in some of our community institutions like our schools," Meyer said.

But if government leaders think they can cut funding and social agencies will pick up the slack, Judith Gethner, director of Illinois Partners for Human Service, said that's not the case. Gethner said ILHS' study shows that there are not enough resources in the philanthropic world to make up for the obligations of government to provide needed services.

"We have this backlog of bills of $7 and 8 billion to human service providers," Gethner said. 

Tune in Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. to get an update on the challenges facing social service organizations on our "At Issue" program.