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Published: Wednesday, 12/17/2008

United Way $60,305 short of goal as economy flails in Monroe County

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

MONROE - The historic downturn in the economy put a strain on the fund-raising efforts of the United Way of Monroe County.

The agency announced last week that its fund-raising campaign for 2008 was $85,305 short of its $1.2 million goal.

However, the goal - which was the same as last year - still could be reached in the coming months, Executive Director Connie Carroll said.

As of last week's dinner marking the end of the annual fund drive, $1,139,695 or 93 percent of the goal was pledged, just 2 percentage points shy of what was achieved last year at the same time.

The agency eventually exceeded the $1.2 million figure in March.

Mrs. Carroll, who took over the agency in January, said she was optimistic campaign donations would continue to trickle into the agency.

"Employees of participating companies and organizations can still contribute to the campaign," she said.

An 11-year employee of United Way, Mrs. Carroll said donors gave larger contributions than in past years.

"It is great to see people who are more fortunate than others realize that and give back to the community," she said.

There were some bright spots in the 2008 campaign.

Bedford Public Schools exceeded its $14,100 goal by $16.38, and according to school officials that couldn't have been done without the support of the district's union employees.

After covering expenses for administration and the cost of raising money, the agency will allocate campaign funds to 26 partner agencies and six community action projects.

Matt Hehl, chairman of the campaign, said the agency went to a record 73 work places and gave more than 100 presentations.

He said a remarkable amount of money was pledged despite the loss of three substantial donors from previous years - two companies and a private contributor.

Mr. Hehl said those contributors accounted for $101,000 of last year's goal, and if they would have contributed this year, the campaign would have exceeded the goal by $16,000.

"I think the loss of those three contributors was the true tale of the tape," he said.



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