Meadville Tribune

Local News

January 15, 2013

United Way on fast track to fulfill funding campaign goal

MEADVILLE — The United Way of Western Crawford County will be brainstorming event ideas for the final push of its fundraising campaign, designed to benefit 16 nonprofit partner agencies and organizations.

Based in Meadville, the UW team is already on the fast track to reaching the 2012-13 campaign goal with approximately $239,000 out of $300,000, said Executive Director Amy Woods, who is confident her organization can close the gap by March 31.

“We’re doing better, but it’s a tough business raising money for our partner agencies,” she said, hoping Meadville’s charitable reputation will come through for the UW’s unending mission to help Crawford County social and human service organizations.

Despite a sizable following, the United Way continues to reach out locally without so much as breaking stride on the campaign trail.

“We applied for a United Way allocation this fiscal year,” said Patricia Henry, program director for the county’s Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA).

CASA works to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy to provide safe, permanent living environments for abused and neglected children.

“It’s becoming more and more difficult to raise money through our past efforts,” Henry added, citing CASA’s annual Champions for Children Breakfast as an example.

Through the CASA board of directors and various local functions, Henry became acquainted with Woods, who encouraged the organization to apply for UW financial aid.

Henry hopes to utilize the extra funding to increase public awareness as well as recruit and train an additional volunteer.

“I’ve noticed, since becoming involved in human services, that there are a lot of nonprofits intent on meeting their goals,” she said. “I would like to see more collaboration and communication between these organizations, and I believe the United Way could be the vehicle to integrate them.”

Organizations like Meadville’s Salvation Army and Hospice House of Crawford County can attest to the UW’s long-term community benefit, having received funding for public service initiatives.

UW allocations help the Salvation Army pay rental, utility, prescription and other assistance for the area’s needy.

“We’re very grateful for them,” said Captain Robin Holmes, Salvation Army corps officer and pastor. “That’s money we don’t get otherwise. We are then able to provide services that we need to.”

Funding also supports Hospice bereavement services which sustain adult and teen/adolescent crisis teams that can mobilize at the drop of a hat, according to Gina McCauley, Hospice program director.

With at least 80 percent of the campaign goal realized, the UW is only two months away from realizing the goals of affiliate organizations, said Mari Mullen, campaign co-chair.

“The great thing about United Way is that even though it’s a national organization, it’s truly local; it helps local nonprofits,” she said. “We’ll be sitting down to schedule what the final push might be.”

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