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United Way sees major donation drops in Minot, Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS — Contributions to the Grand Forks United Way have fallen 22 percent since 2013, including a 23 percent decline from 2016 to 2017, the most recent year’s figures available.

According to the organization’s 990 tax forms, giving in 2013 was $980,035. Although the organization saw a slight increase from 2015 to 2016, the trend has continued, with a recent low of $760,342 in 2017.

The Souris Valley United Way in Minot saw an increase of more than 10 percent from 2013 to 2017, but a 26 percent decrease in contributions from 2016 to 2017. Giving to the United Way in Minot in 2016 was $1,019,185 and dropped to $751,666 in 2017.

Nonprofits are required to file a 990 tax form with the Internal Revenue Service on a yearly basis. The financial report is available to the public for all nonprofit organizations.

The United Way in Fargo saw a small decrease in contributions and grants from 2016 to 2017, according to the organization’s 990 forms. That number dropped by less than half of a percent for the United Way of Cass-Clay, or by about $12,000. The organization increased its contributions and grants by nearly 3 percent from 2013 to 2017.

The Missouri Slope Area United Way in Bismarck had an increase of 5.58 percent from 2015 to 2016, the most recent financial data available.

Anne Cohen, a senior lecturer at the University of Minnesota and head of the nonprofit management program in the Carlson School of Business, said donations can fluctuate year over year, but given there were not major issues with the economy in 2017, the significant drop in dollars in Grand Forks is puzzling.

“Sometimes times are just tough, you could have a major supporter drop off radar for whatever reason, or something. But when you have a drop like that you need to look at what you should be doing differently,” Cohen said.