United Way will send funds to Urban League Agencies disagreed on accounting methods; $84,000 was withheld


After being at odds for months, the United Way of Central Maryland and the Baltimore Urban League have settled their differences over the league's accounting practices.

The United Way told Urban League officials yesterday that it would send the league an $84,000 check, the complete amount the funding organization had withheld since October because of disagreements between the two agencies.

The dispute became public March 18. Roger L. Lyons, Urban League director, said United Way funds had too many strings attached. Larry E. Walton, president and chief executive officer of United Way, said the two sides had disagreed for years on accounting matters.

"The Urban League has now been paid in full for the entire allocation originally planned for the fiscal year ending this month," Walton said. "We have made substantial progress, we think that progress will continue, that all issues will be resolved in meetings this summer and that the relationship between the ** two groups will be as strong as ever."

In March, Walton had said the United Way wanted the league to implement program-based funding, to allow better tracking of money.

Linda S. Thompson, chairwoman of the Urban League board, agreed that the agencies are closer after three meetings, and that they plan regular sessions.

Thompson said the league has been assessing accounting procedures and effectiveness measures.

"We are trying to bring our procedures in line with theirs," she said. "We and the United Way agreed to meet quarterly to share ideas and form a closer partnership. We presented a two-year action plan step by step toward goals in programs, finance, marketing, public policy, strategic planning and membership."

nTC She said the plan would be available to the public this summer. Walton called the plan, which has a time line, "a very good job."

Thompson, special secretary for children, youth and families in the governor's office, said the league plans an annual look at matters affecting African-Americans. "One of the programs we listed is a league assessment of needs and policy on matters affecting African-Americans in the region," she said.

The league, with 2,000 members, has an annual budget of $3.5 million.

Thompson said the controversy has brought league board members closer to each other and to staff members. "We mobilized our energies, and it made us more cohesive," she said.

Pub Date: 6/05/98

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