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United Way is $350,000 away from year's $1.75 million goal

December 01, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY - One year after falling short of its goal, the United Way of Washington County appears to be closing in on success. During a rally Thursday at Public Square, officials announced that the agency has raised about 80 percent of its goal of $1.75 million this year.

"I know we're on pace, probably a little bit ahead," campaign co-chairman John Roney said.

The agency still needs about $350,000 to meet its goal, Roney said.

Co-chairwoman Cynthia Perini said she hopes the agency can wrap up its fundraising efforts by Dec. 21.

Last year, The Herald-Mail reported that the United Way increased its donations by $18,700 over the previous year, despite falling just short of its goal.

Executive Director Dale Bannon said this year's target is the highest ever. The United Way this year added three partner agencies, he said.

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Bannon described the next few weeks as a "hard push" to make the goal.

"It's a push because it's an ambitious goal ... but we believe it can happen, with everybody working together," Bannon said.

The agency this year has received only about half of the donations it typically gets from residents, Bannon said.

Residents normally contribute about 10 percent of the United Way's revenues, while corporate campaigns bring in about 90 percent of the money, Bannon said. About 50 corporate campaigns still are under way, he said.

The United Way helps fund 22 local agencies, including CASA Inc., Hospice of Washington County Inc., the Community Free Clinic and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County, the agency's Web site shows.

Julie Barr-Strasburg, executive director of the American Red Cross of Washington County, said the organization depends on the United Way's support. The United Way contributes about 35 percent of the funding for local Red Cross programs, she said.

"If I had to go out and raise all of our dollars, there's no way we could do that," Barr-Strasburg said.

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