United Way of Washington County kicks off fundraising campaign

August 31, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the United Way of Washington County has set its most ambitious fundraising goal to date.

The group will try to raise $1.9 million between now and the end of December.

"It's a special year for the organization, and we want to mark it by giving the community more than we ever have," said Tom Newcomer, co-chairman of this year's fundraising campaign.

The chapter held a picnic and ceremony Friday night at Municipal Stadium before the Hagerstown Suns game against Lakewood to kick off this year's campaign.

More than 200 volunteers and representatives from local fundraising agencies attended the event.

The United Way of Washington County never has raised $1.9 million, though it came close when it surpassed its $1.8 million goal last year.


"It's an ambitious, but doable, amount of money," Newcomer said of this year's goal. "We went beyond our goal for the first time in 18 years last year, and we're going to try to ride that momentum through this year."

The chapter has raised more than $47 million since its inception in 1957. In that year, the group raised $259,922.

The United Way of Washington County is an umbrella organization that funnels money to 25 local charities.

In addition, hundreds of local companies have set up donation programs, said Dan Greenwald, the chapter's new executive director.

"We want to keep awareness going that there is a big need for services in this community," Greenwald said.

Newcomer estimated that more than 50,000 people in Washington County were helped last year with money distributed by the United Way.

The chapter is planning special events during this year's fundraising campaign in an attempt to capitalize on its 50th anniversary, said Jenny Fleming, community building and marketing director for the United Way of Washington County.

The group is selling special-edition Longaberger baskets, and will hold an online auction in November to coincide with holiday shopping, Fleming said.

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