United Way nearing end of its annual fundraising campaign

Published 9:39 am Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The United Way of Freeborn County has less than a month to reach its goal of $661,000 for its annual campaign.

As of Tuesday morning more than $420,000 had been raised. The campaign ends Dec. 31. United Way Executive Director Ann Austin said there are more than 20 campaigns that are finishing up and have yet to turn in their funds. She said she’s fairly sure the campaign will hit the $600,000 mark, but she’s not certain they’ll reach their goal.

“We would love it if it happened, but you never know for sure,” Austin said.

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In 2010, the campaign goal was $650,000 and it was not reached. Austin said the 2011 goal was raised because several agencies requested more funds. United Way funds support 19 partner agencies that are responsible for 33 programs.

“Many United Ways have chosen not to increase the goal each year,” Austin said. “We say we need to try, even with the economy the way it is.”

Austin said she was lucky to work with volunteers who were so committed to the campaign and who helped with fundraising events throughout the past few months.

“The volunteers have done an excellent job,” Austin said.

The local United Way chapter is already looking toward 2012. Austin said some fundraisers will again be held, like the Battle of the Bands, and there will be new fundraisers as well.

“The opportunities are endless for our community,” Austin said.

She hopes to continue to engage more people each year and get more businesses involved in the organization. Austin said one of her goals is to work to collaborate more so less resources are needed.

“We’re trying to help people without needing a substantial amount of money,” Austin said. “With collaboration you can do way more with less money than you could ever imagine.”

She also hopes the local United Way chapter can continue to educate people in the community about who is being helped by its partner agencies. During the campaign kickoff in September two groups, Group Support Services and the Aktion Club, presented what they’re about. Those sorts of presentations have led to more awareness of programs than ever before, Austin said.