United Way goal short, but still a success

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2003

The Kenai Peninsula United Way came in a little short of its fund-raising goal this year, but no one is complaining.

The organization, which funds 27 nonprofit agencies on the peninsula, raised $614,943 this year, which is about 94 percent of its $650,000 goal.

And while the amount is less than the organization's record intake of $781,514, raised in 2001, it's still far ahead of the annual average.

"I think we did great under the circumstances," said Execu-tive Director Evy Gebhardt.

She attributed the shortfall to nationwide concerns over the war in Iraq and the impact of the stock market condition on retirement funds, as well as to layoffs and business closures on the peninsula.

But, she said, the money raised still will have a significant impact on the agencies United Way supports.

For example, the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula, which offer supervised after-school and summer activities for kids of all ages, uses the money it receives from United Way to provide membership scholarships for children who cannot afford the program.

The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank also receives money from United Way, which it uses to provide food and classes for community members in need.

The Kenai Peninsula American Red Cross uses United Way money to help disaster victims get back on their feet.

And area senior citizens centers receive money from the fund drive to provide food, transportation and activities for the older members of peninsula communities.

"I've gone out and spent time at all our member agencies, and that's the single most rewarding thing: to know the people," Gebhardt said.

"I don't just hope, I know we're making an impact out there."

The United Way currently is planning for the 2003 campaign, which officially kicks off in August, but donations always are accepted.

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