United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey on Monday slashed 37 of 97 positions as it narrows its focus to fighting intergenerational poverty in the region.

"The organization needs to be set up to make meaningful investments on moving the needle on this stubborn problem of poverty that is afflicting our region disproportionately from other peer cities," said Bill Golderer, who was appointed the nonprofit's president last February.

Before Golderer arrived, the United Way board "had decided to dispense with 57 discrete strategies for achieving various missions" in favor of a three-pronged approach to fighting poverty, Golderer said, but the organization was still set up to fulfill its original purpose, which was "collecting and redistributing community funds."

The new mission had to trump custom at the United Way, Golderer said.

Golderer said the job cuts were not driven by financial concerns beyond recognizing that "more money needs to be returned to the community and the mission, a much greater percentage."

In May, United Way announced that it had raised $24.7 million for the fiscal year that started July 1, short of the board's $28.1 million goal. At the time, Golderer called that result a clear sign that the organization had to change.