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United Way challenges community to raise $50,000

If collected, the organization will meet its $1.9 million goal

If collected, the organization will meet its $1.9 million goal

January 18, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY ? As it reaches the end of its fundraising drive, the United Way of Washington County is challenging local residents to step up to the plate.

The organization has raised almost $500,000 in the last month and needs $100,000 to hit its 2007 fundraising campaign goal, campaign leaders said Friday.

Campaign co-chairs Tom Newcomer and John F. Barr said the organization has been guaranteed $50,000 in matching funds and, if those funds are matched by the community, the group will reach its $1.9 million goal, the organization's highest goal yet.

Ellsworth Electric, which is owned by Barr; Community Foundation of Washington County; and private donors Howard and Ann Kaylor offered the $50,000 "challenge," Newcomer said.

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"This is a call to action more than anything," said Newcomer, who owns R. Bruce Carson Jewelers on Public Square in Hagerstown.

Ellsworth Electric and the Kaylors made $20,000 pledges; the Community Foundation of Washington County made a $10,000 pledge.

The pledges are contingent on the group raising another $50,000 through community groups. If the match is made, the United Way of Washington County will finish the largest fundraiser in its 50-year history successfully.

Goal looks closer now than a few months ago

Newcomer said chances of hitting the goal looked dim a few months ago.

A stagnant economy and the elimination of one local company's employee campaign left the United Way unsure whether it would meet its $1.9 million goal.

"Around Thanksgiving, we were looking at this and thinking, 'We're not going to make it,'" Newcomer said.

Donations and additional drives from local agencies, the school systems and private donors have turned the campaign around, Newcomer said.

Barr called the latest push a good example of the kind of cooperation that has revived this year's campaign.

"You have a local company, a local community group and a private donor coming together to make this effort. This is the kind of broad support we have seen late in this campaign," Barr said.

The United Way funds programs with 25 partner agencies in Washington County.

The organization's fundraising drive ends Jan. 31.

Individuals who want to learn about the organization or donate to the campaign can visit www.unitedwaywashcounty.org or call 301-739-8200.

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