United Way faces challenging fall

Published 9:22 am Friday, August 20, 2010

With less than two weeks to go until the kickoff of the next Freeborn County United Way campaign, organizers are busy making final preparations to make the campaign run as smoothly as possible.

United Way Executive Director Ann Austin said the kickoff will be Sept. 1, at which time the organization will officially begin its efforts to raise $650,000.

Money raised goes to support partner agencies in Freeborn County.

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Austin said the campaign goal is $5,000 higher than last year’s goal, but the organization will try its best to reach the total.

Though it didn’t reach it’s goal last year, the local United Way raised $615,000, which was the most ever raised by the entity.

She said she recognizes it should be a challenging campaign as economists at one minute are saying the economy has improved and then the next are saying it hasn’t.

“We have a lot of hope, but in the same measure if people don’t feel like they can give, we’re just going to try and get the good message out there to get out there and support the community,” Austin said.

One change to the campaign this year is there will be no community member appointed as chairman or chairwoman.

Austin said they found several people who were interested in the position but who could not do so because of the time commitment it involved. The person in this position would go to various businesses twice a week to share information about the United Way, write a column for the newspaper and go on the radio, among other responsibilities.

“It grew into a responsibility that was kind of a part-time job,” she said. “It takes a special kind of schedule to accommodate that.”

This year, the United Way office will make up some of the extra work and then the organization will strive to be as efficient and effective as possible in the mean time, she added.

A major goal is to help people be more aware of what the United Way does for people of the community.

New this year will also be a small business blitz where volunteers and agency leaders will go out to businesses with less than 25 employees on Sept. 1 to share the message of the United Way and collect donations.

In previous years, the small business visits have been spread out throughout the campaign.

Businesses should be receiving information about the blitz in the next week.

Austin said at the kickoff speakers will include Jeanie Opdahl, director of the Freeborn County chapter of the American Red Cross, and a representative with the Community Technologies and Services agency, both of which organizations receiving United Way funding.

To find out more about the local United Way, go to www.unitedwayfc.org. The office can be reached at 373-8670.

Upcoming United Way events

  • Sept.1: Campaign kickoff
  • Sept. 11: Lube-A-Thon at Hanson Tire
  • Sept. 20: Live United Disc Golf Tournament
  • Oct. 29: Keep the Fires Burning
  • Nov. 5: Wine tasting
  • Feb. 16: Campaign celebration and annual meeting
  • Feb. 21-25: Week of thanks