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United Way still short of fundraising goal

December 16, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

United Way of Washington County campaign co-chairman Gary Wright has two wishes for Christmas this year.

"I'd like to see us reach the $1.7 million goal," Wright said.

But if that's not to be, he would hope that another $65,000 would come in before the campaign ends in January, matching the approximately $1.6 million raised in 2004.

"We need to raise at least that so then there would be no cuts in services to our member agencies," Wright said.

As of Dec. 15, the 2005 campaign had raised more than $1,565,000. To reach its goal, approximately $135,000 more needs to come in. The money raised helps fund 36 programs provided by 20 member agencies.

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At a Thursday morning press conference at Girls Inc., United Way Executive Director Dale Bannon said a higher goal was set this year to help with agencies' increasing needs.

"But the campaign experienced a significant decline due in part to the national disaster response and a lack of additional businesses agreeing to solicit employees," Bannon said.

While several companies stepped up to increase their giving levels, Bannon said it wasn't enough to offset the other losses from hurricane relief and the small rise in payroll deduction participants.

With just a few weeks left in the campaign, Bannon urged businesses and individuals to remember at-risk youth, homebound seniors, abused women and children, and low-income families.

"Our campaign touches 50,000 lives," campaign co-chairman Mike Zampelli said. "Find it in your hearts to send an extra Christmas card to the United Way this year."

Bannon reminded donors that new tax incentives Congress has provided should encourage individuals to give to local charitable interests.

Anyone wishing to make a donation may mail checks to United Way, 18706 Crestwood Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21742. Questions may be directed to 301-739-8200, ext. 1.

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