December 18, 2013

PUBLIC FORUM: MHA board presidents asks donors for concerns


---- — Directly asking thedonors for answers

I have postponed this letter to the community for two weeks. On Nov. 26, 2013, two days before Thanksgiving, Mental Health America received the disheartening news that our organization would no longer be funded by United Way of Cass County. No specific reason was given, other than a small group of individuals (known as the United Way Board and Executive Committee) did not feel our organization was or is efficient or effective. From this group of 12 or so, not more than three of them ever set foot inside our facility. Not one of them has any real concept of what MHACC does for the community and our clients on a daily basis. This does not surprise us, as our clientele generally do not fit the class of people the United Way seems interested in helping or associating with.

UWCC claims to have hired a consultant to assist us, when in reality they merely located her and used funds allocated to MHACC to pay for the expense. During the visits from this consultant, (a woman that even UWCC insiders admitted to us was a joke) we were told over and over we were doing a great job conforming to UWCC’s new format and all was well. We received notes telling us what great job we did at our presentation to the Community Investment Committee and at no time were we ever led to believe we would be eliminated as a member agency.

Anyone can slap some numbers on a paper and make it all look good, but not everyone can say they actually provide a service people want, need and depend on for daily survival. Accountability to the donors is an issue the UWCC board has mentioned on more than one occasion, so we ask you, the donors, the ones that make it all happen ... Where is the problem? They are essentially blaming you, the donors, implying you question our practices. We would love specifies to help us in rectifying the issue.

Joyce Henderson

MHA board president