United Way fundraising goal lower than last year

August 23, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

The United Way of Washington County is setting its fundraising goal for the 2010 Campaign Kickoff a little lower than last year.

Leah Gayman, executive director of the United Way of Washington County, said the organization hopes to raise $1.6 million between the time the fundraiser begins Friday and ends Jan. 31.

The United Way's goal was $1.8 million in 2009.

"We wanted to be realistic and look at where we are," Gayman said. "We know people are struggling (with the sluggish economy), and dollars are sitting on the sidelines."

Gayman said the United Way raised about $1.53 million last year, which was roughly $270,000 short of its goal.

The money that is raised will benefit 26 local nonprofits that partner with the United Way, including the Red Cross of Washington County and Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gayman said.


Julie M. Barr-Strasburg, executive director of the Red Cross of Washington County, said the Red Cross received about $70,000 from last year's United Way fundraiser.

The Red Cross used that money to help support three main programs, said Mike Mowen, director of emergency services for the Washington County Red Cross.

The first program provides food, clothing and lodging to fire victims, he said. The second program shuttles veterans to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., and the third provides support to military families in the event of an emergency.

"Anything you can get is a big help," Mowen said. "It's not a very forgiving economy."

Gayman said fundraiser officials rely heavily on local workers to pledge a small portion of their paychecks. She said the United Way also asks for contributions from retirees and other people who have given in the past.

"One in three people are directly touched by the United Way," she said. "We need to energize and mobilize the community to provide for one another."

Gayman said people who can't afford to give money to the fundraiser can help by volunteering their time to the United Way or other nonprofits.

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