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United Way kicks off campaign with all pistons going

August 27, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER
  • Adam Roberson, right, of the Community Free Clinic talks with David Williams of Allegany Dental Care Friday during the 2010 campaign kickoff for the United Way of Washington County, held in conjunction with the last Wind Down Friday of the season at the Bulls and Bears and The Maryland Theater in downtown Hagerstown.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer,

United Way of Washington County kicked off its 2010 fundraising campaign Friday by winding down as it energized the community.

United Way publicly announced its goals for 2010 during Wind Down Fridays at The Maryland Theatre.

"It's not about fundraising, its about changing our community," Executive Director Leah Gayman said of the campaign. "In reality, we can't raise enough money to meet all the needs of this community."

Together with its partners, the organization kicked off the annual campaign by setting goals that included fundraising, volunteers, outreach and awareness.

United Way hopes to raise $1.6 million between now and Jan. 31, 2011, Gayman said, acknowledging that its 2010 goal is about $200,000 less than its 2009 goal.

"My goal is to blow the top off our goal this year, which I know we will," she said.

The organization also wants to coordinate 1,000 volunteers for its annual Day of Caring this October, said Jenny Fleming, community impact director.

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Youth United Way, a division of the organization for students, set an additional fundraising goal for the organization.

Stephen Wang, a senior at North Hagerstown High School, said his group will aim to raise $15,000 for youth-related projects this year.

Numbers aside, the United Way also wants to see more community collaboration, more partnership, more leadership to better Washington County, said Meg Harsh, who represented the United Way Board of Directors.

As campaign co-chair Roger Stenersen put it, "Goals are set in many ways: money, people, interactions and even solutions. However, the thing that is most important are the solutions that the money will purchase."

Money raised through the campaign benefits 26 local nonprofits that partner with United Way, including the Red Cross of Washington County and Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gayman said previously.

Some of those nonprofits also made their goals public Friday during the event.

o Scott Paddack said the Mason-Dixon Council of Boy Scouts of America hopes to start a multilingual Cub Scout pack.

o Executive Director Jodie Stock said REACH Caregivers wants to find 10 new volunteers to help the elderly and disabled.

o Heather Guessford of Kaplan University in Hagerstown said she hopes to speak to every educator about the value of the United Way so they can pass that knowledge on to students.

o Dawn Lowenhaupt said the Washington County Commission on Aging wants to serve 12,000 seniors in the county.

o Stephanie Stone said the Strategic Community Impact Plan committee hopes to use the information it has collected to develop strategies for making the county a better place.

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