Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Lebanon County United Way stops funding for area nonprofit

It made decision after years of 'concerns and deficiencies' with local Mental Health Association chapter

Due to “several years of concerns and deficiencies” regarding an organization’s financial and other operations, the United Way of Lebanon County has permanently suspended its funding.

The United Way chapter announced the decision Wednesday regarding the Mental Health Association of Lebanon County.

It came after several years of concerns about the Lebanon County MHA’s organization, financial stability and its ability to effectively deliver services, a United Way statement said.

And the decision means the Lebanon County MHA office will have to close its doors at the end of the year, its officials have confirmed.

United Way CEO Kenny Montijo said the agency made the decision to halt funding for the mental-health agency because United Way leaders “are responsible to the people of this community.”

All funding decisions are made by community volunteers after careful review of the agency’s governance, financial audits and the program infrastructure, Montijo told the Business Journal on Thursday.

“Our donors in many cases are giving thousands of dollars that they need to know are reaching the population who need the support services,” the United Way CEO said.

“It was unfortunate in this situation that this organization was not able to maintain the rigorous standards the United Way sets,” Montijo said, calling it “a deliberate, well-thought-out decision made after many months of consideration.”

His United Way chapter funds $2.5 million and 30 programs, and the MHA decision eliminates $50,000 from the total, Montijo said.

Philbin said in the television station’s report that the MHA of Lebanon County serves 30 clients, and he was quoted as saying that some individuals “will be losing in some cases their only link to mental-health services.”

Montijo said in the United Way statement that its leaders are “actively working to ensure members of our community who are in mental-health recovery continue to receive support services.”

The MHA of Lebanon County was founded in 1954, and, along with the United Way, has received its funding through fundraisers, an annual membership campaign, an annual Christmas appeal, an endowment fund, grants and private donations, its webpage states.

The president of its board of directors, Russ Albert, released a statement confirming the agency’s closure at the end of the year.

The association “will be unable to sustain operations with the loss of United Way funding, approximately $50,000 annually,” or a loss of about half of its income, the statement said.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our opportunity to serve the community when there is such a need in our community for organizations that promote mental wellness and provide support service for individuals in mental-health recovery,” Albert said in the statement.

“Though we disagree wholeheartedly with the United Way’s conclusions and decisions about our funding and our community impact, we don’t wish to rebut or revisit them publicly. We value the contribution that United Way makes to the community as a whole, and we prefer to remain positive for the good of the community.”

David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].

Business Events

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

Health Care Heroes

Tuesday, April 04, 2023
Health Care Heroes

Nonprofit Innovation Awards

Thursday, May 18, 2023
Nonprofit Innovation Awards

Women of Influence

Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Women of Influence