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Franklin Co. United Way campaign sets sail

September 28, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The United Way of Franklin County invoked memories of fundraising efforts in decades past in kicking off its 2006 campaign, the goal of which is to raise $715,000 for 27 agencies serving youths, families, the disabled and health-care needs of the community.

Waynesboro, Pa., began efforts to raise funds for charitable organizations in 1923 with what was known as the Community Chest, Campaign Chairwoman Amy L. Murray said. Chambersburg began its Community Chest and War Relief campaign in 1942, she said.

"The Way We Were" was the theme for this year's campaign, with the banquet room at The Orchards restaurant decorated with memorabilia dating from the 1940s to the present - LIFE magazines and rations stamps from World War II; a Howdy Doody puppet from the 1950s; and a Beach Boys album from the 1960s.

"Franklin County is one of the fastest-growing counties in Pennsylvania. Along with this economic growth comes a growth in need, as well," Murray told the representatives of businesses, schools and agencies attending the luncheon.

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Over the past decade, however, the annual goal of the United Way has "remained fairly stagnant," Murray said. In 1996, the campaign raised $713,561, almost as much as this year's goal, she said.

"It's clear we cannot support a growing community without growth in our campaign," Murray said. She challenged donors to exceed this year's goal and begin a trend to raise more each year.

Another change noted by Murray was a change in leadership with Executive Director Cynthia Hawbaker having stepped down in May after 11 years in that position. Joan Smith is serving as interim executive director until Hawbaker's replacement is named.

When the 2005 goal was exceeded that year's chairwoman, Barbara Brobst, kissed a pig. Murray also made a promise:

"If the goal is met ... I'm willing to swallow a fish."

Fourteen companies already have conducted employee campaigns for the Pacesetter Campaign, First Chairman Chuck Frame said. Those companies raised nearly $130,000 toward the 2006 goal, he said.

The money raised between now and February will benefit organizations that made their requests known to the United Way's Allocations Committee in May, Murray said.

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