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Three new agencies will be part of United Way campaign

August 31, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

Three new agencies will be included in the 2006 campaign of the United Way of Washington County, but plans to kick off the campaign Friday night at a Hagerstown Suns game have been postponed.

United Way officials said the campaign kickoff and a picnic for United Way donors and agency representatives will be rescheduled.

REACH, Star Community Center and the Walnut Street Community Health Center bring the number of United Way agencies to 22, United Way Executive Director Dale Bannon said. The Parent-Child Center has opted out of the United Way, Bannon said.

All other United Way agencies remain the same.

The campaign goal is $1.75 million - up from $1.7 million last year. The campaign co-chairpersons are Cynthia Perini and John Roney of Sovereign Bank.

Last year's campaign weathered several challenges, including two hurricanes, that had an impact on giving. The campaign took in $1,649,569.

"We want to see more employee campaigns this year, where companies give their employees a chance to give," Roney said.

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Perini wants to focus on increasing the percentage of participation in companies, and she sees competition between companies as one way to do that.

An example of increasing participation was shown last year by employees of Volvo Powertrain North America, formerly Mack Trucks.

"Volvo raised the bar," Perini said. Volvo increased giving at the leadership level, which is $500 or more, from 50 to 90 employees, she said.

Bannon said the three new partner agencies will direct their United Way funds to three specific programs.

REACH (Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless) will focus on Faith in Action, a senior transportation program within the agency.

Star Community Center will use the money for an equestrian program for children with disabilities.

Walnut Street Community Health Center will use the money for its preventive dental program.

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