United Way reaches goal - Press-Republican: Local News

United Way reaches goal

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Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2014 2:28 am

PLATTSBURGH — It was a struggle this year, but the 2014 United Way of the Adirondack Region campaign has reached its $725,000 goal.

United Way Executive Director John Bernardi said the final tally was $725,116, despite a “challenging and difficult” fundraising environment.

The final numbers were a testament to this year’s dedicated campaign team and the amazing staff at United Way, he said at a press conference Friday.

He said they were blessed to have two strong campaign co-chairs: DaleAnne Wolters of the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity and Compassionate Friends and Ellen Gordon of Adirondack Community Action Programs. 

Wolters and Gordon thanked everyone who helped make this year’s efforts a success: the volunteers, donor businesses and their employees.

“This team has been great to work with,” Wolters said.

Gordon reiterated that thought, and especially thanked the United Way staff.

“Without them, we couldn’t have done this.”

STILL-TIGHT ECONOMY

The campaign faced challenges, Bernardi said, including a still-tight economy and the loss of some major contributors, such as Pfizer.

The drive also had to compete with a number of other charities for funding.

“That competition is significant. We are not the only worthy cause in town,” Bernardi said.

40 AGENCIES

Mental-health service providers continue to be a high priority for United Way funding, Bernardi said, as are groups that provide basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. 

The United Way and its network of 40 partner agencies in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties provided service and assistance to about 80,000 people last year.

“The impact we are able to make with our network is significant,” he said.

EXTENDED CAMPAIGN

The United Way Allocation Committee will start to review applications from the partner network next week to determine how much funding each will receive.

Bernardi said it was good to meet the goal this year, especially after they fell 5 percent short of their $775,000 goal last year.

This year’s campaign was extended an extra three weeks, as the goal had not been met as of the end of January.

Bernardi thanked local media outlets for spreading the word to help make up the shortfall.

“It made a difference,” he said.

In addition to allocating funds to partner agencies, the United Way coordinates programs such as the the Earned Income Tax Credit service, 2-1-1 Information and Referral, disaster recovery, volunteerism and other community-based initiatives.

LOOKING AHEAD

In the process of determining possible new needs for the upcoming campaign, United Way has yet to name a campaign chair for 2015.

The agency benefits from work done by JCEO and ACAP that identifies the region’s resources and assistance needs.

The United Way has also benefited from the help of an intern from Clinton Community College, Peter Regnier, who is also working to determine potential needs for the upcoming year. 

Regnier said he has learned a lot about the tri-county area, such as the large number of singles in households. 

“It’s been very interesting finding out about the area I live in,” he said.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com