Betterment for United Seniors (BUS), a non-profit organization of 3,000 senior citizens in Prince George's County, was approved this week for full membership in the United Way.Membership status means that BUS will become a financially participating agency, eligible for funds next year from United Way.
"It's sort of a "seal of good housekeeping," said Norman Taylor of United Way's Membership and Allocations Committee. "Any outside organizations looking at it will know it's being monitored by us. We will be able to fund specific programs through the membership."
BUS recieved the authorization after appealing a May decision of the Membership and Allocations Committee which denied the group membership on the grounds that it wasn't "unique" and "duplicated services in the county." The group had sought membership in the United Way after an affiliation last year with the Prince George's Community Fund brought them $6,000 in pledges.
Late last year the Community Fund, which had broken off from the United Way in Prince George's, was reunited with the United Way after an agreement was reached to keep the 20 Community Fund organizations on the United Way pledge card list for one year. Of the 20, only 15 applied for membership. Four of these organizations later dropped out.
In addition to BUS, the board this week approved the membership applications of six other agencies sponsored last year by the Community Fund. They were : Ardmore Development Center, Bowie Therapeutic Nursery Center, Prince George's Free Clinic, the Greater Baden Medical Center, Reality and Big Sisters.
Four others agencies sponsored last year by the Community Fund were rejected.They were: The Coalition for Responsible Citizens, Legal Services, Inc., Maryland Ostomy Association and the Piscataway Indians.
Taylor said of the new memberships, "This is unheard of in United Way history. Last year out of 80 agencies who applied, we took only two."
He said that the relatively large number of acceptances came about because of the agreement between the United Way and the Community Fund.
United Way Executive Vice-President Oral Suer said the appeals board was 'so impressed' with the BUS organization and presentation that it granted the group full membership.
Organized as a citizens group four years ago, BUS, according to president Faith Loveless, is "an organization of seniors working for themselves. It is a unique-non-political, nonprofit, integrated group of people past retirement age.
Loveless, 64, a retired elementary school principal, is the spokewoman for the group along with Georgie Holden, who was a public relations director of Gallaudet College before her retirement.