United Way extends campaign; hopes to get closer to goal

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 8, 2003

United Way of the River Cities is now $600,000 short of its goal.

Currently, the organization which provides services to 40 percent of Lawrence County residents, is at 72 percent of its fall fund-raising campaign, which is $1.3 million of $1.9 million. The campaign has been extended through January.

When the organization realized it was going to have a shortfall, it stepped up publicity efforts.

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"It raised awareness, and some people increased their pledges," Tara Brannon, communications director, said. "We also had a lot of first-time donors. It brought some money in, but there's still a big gap there."

United Way's allocation committee, which is comprised of community volunteers, makes recommendations to the United Way Board of Directors, Brannon said. The board, which makes the final decisions on funding, is expected to vote on Jan. 29.

In the spring, a citizens review panel visits the organizations that United Way serves and evaluates them, William J. McGee, campaign chairman, said. If funding for organizations is cut, the board will look at which organizations have the most critical need for United Way funding and try to minimize the effects to that organization, he said.

Currently, the Lawrence County campaign is at 56 percent of its $150,000 goal, Kheng McGuire, executive director said. In mid-December, the Lawrence County campaign was only at 36 percent of its goal.

Another audit for the Lawrence County campaign is scheduled for this afternoon, she said.

An organization that could lose money is Lawrence County Special Olympics.

"The children get an 'I can do it. I am special,' from this," Barbara Williams, Special Olympics treasurer, said.

The county's Special Olympics usually receives $7,400 a year from United Way of the River Cities, Williams said. If funding is cut, the organization may have to cut out the lunches it provides to students and ask them to bring their own, or cut other programs.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," she said.

Williams said anyone thinking about donating money to United Way should come to a Special Olympics event.

"They should come and see the students -- see their smiles as they're getting awards," she said.