United Way’s 2010 goal to be $650,000

Published 10:40 am Thursday, May 27, 2010

The United Way of Freeborn County announced Wednesday that the organization’s 2010 campaign goal has increased slightly to $650,000 — up last year by about $5,000.

Local United Way Executive Director Ann Austin said the organization’s allocations committee, which is made up of various community members, met with partner agencies and reviewed their programs and financial information to determine the need.

“The United Way supports programs that address the greatest need in the areas of education, income and health,” according to a news release.

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Austin said the allocations committee made some initial cuts to program requests after making the spring visits. Funding will also no longer go to the local Girl Scouts.

Funding will, however, go to a new agency — Group Support Services Inc. — which has two programs: the first, provides supervised visitation and a safe exchange site for parents and their children, and the second provides alternative-to-violence programs and anger management education, she said.

Though the 2010 goal is higher than it was in 2009, Austin said she feels confident about this year’s campaign.

“Several businesses have been hiring and rehiring,” she said. “That’s something we’ve been struggling with the past few years. It’s starting to look up, which has been a huge blessing for our community.”

The theme for this year’s campaign will again be Live United.

Austin said part of the campaign will address the importance of supporting the community through giving, advocating and volunteering. Financial support is necessary to run community programs, but there are many ways people can help build a stronger and sustainable community.

“There is a financial need, but our community also has a need for volunteers, and our campaign will work to address that need, too,” United Way Board Chairman Chris Chalmers said. “The work of United Way is about growing a community for a lifetime.”

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Austin said many of the United Way agencies greatly benefit from having volunteers.

“Be open to the idea that giving a couple hours of your time might greatly benefit someone else,” she said.

The United Way of Freeborn County campaign officially kicks off Sept. 1 and goes through Dec. 31. However, any money donated in 2010 will go toward the campaign.

Funds raised during the 2010 campaign will be given out in 2011.

Austin said 33 programs will receive funding after the completion of the campaign.

In 2009, the Freeborn County community raised about $615,000 — the most ever raised for the United Way. The campaign goal was $645,000.

The United Way of Freeborn County can be reached at 373-8670.