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United Way's challenge

Businessman pledges $20,000 if others will match it

Businessman pledges $20,000 if others will match it

December 22, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - The United Way of Washington County could meet its 2006 fundraising goal of $1.75 million if the agency can raise another $20,000 in donations, the agency's executive director said Thursday.

Following a United Way rally on Thursday at Horizon Goodwill Industries, United Way Executive Director Dale Bannon met with local businessman Vincent Groh, who agreed to pledge a matching $20,000 if the agency could secure $20,000 in donations from others.

Bannon said the agency also got $5,000 in new pledges shortly after Thursday's rally.

If the United Way can bring in the matching $20,000, the combined $45,000 in new donations would meet the 2006 goal, Bannon said.

"What a great Christmas present it would be to say we made goal," Bannon told United Way members and supporters at the rally earlier.

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Bannon stressed that it's the pledge that is needed right away, not the check.

If the goal is met, the United Way member agencies will get the money they sought so they can serve more than 50,000 people in the community, Bannon said.

John Roney, co-chair of the 2006 campaign, said it has been gratifying the way people have been stepping up as the campaign draws to a close.

"We've also been making a lot of calls to those people who have given in the past," co-chair Cynthia Perini said.

The 2005 United Way campaign raised $1,649,569, which was short of the agency's $1.7 million goal.

The rally was at Horizon Goodwill Industries because the United Way funds that agency's Parent Employment Program (PEP).

Although not part of that program directly, James A. Smith said he has benefited from Goodwill's overall program, which helps those in need of training and employment.

Now the groundskeeper, Smith said he does a little bit of everything at Goodwill at 14515 Pennsylvania Ave. He was proud that his job has allowed him to buy a car, and soon his own house.

"I can make a difference here," Smith said.

Smith started as a client, then became a trainee, said Rodney Rose, director of regulatory compliance and in-house counsel at Goodwill.

"James is one of our success stories," Rose said. "We have hired him full time now."

Contributions may be made to the United Way by calling 301-739-8200, going to unitedwaywashcounty.org or by mail to United Way of Washington County, 18706 Crestwood Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21742.

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