United Way exceeds funds goal

Contributions top $820,000

Posted: Monday, June 11, 2007

Kenai Peninsula United Way far exceeded its 2006 fundraising campaign goal of $600,000, as peninsula residents, businesses and corporations had contributed more than $820,000 by the April 15 deadline, according to Executive Director Tina Marie Herford.

Launched late last fall, the 2006 campaign exceeded all expectations.

“We were just thrilled with this year’s result,” Herford said Tuesday.

Local United Way fund-raising campaigns have averaged about $610,000 a year over the past five years, she said. Just why such community altruism manifested for the 2006 campaign, she couldn’t say, but increases were seen from individuals as well as corporations, she said.

“I would like to believe that part of it was that we worked very hard at marketing, getting out in the community, sharing what United Way is about,” she said. “We produced a DVD that actually showed firsthand that the people served by United Way agencies actually live in the community.”

She also said there had been an effort to reach North Slope workers who live on the peninsula. Many of those people were able to contribute through payroll deduction plans.

There is ever-growing awareness on the peninsula about United Way and its member agencies and the services they provide borough-wide, she said. Member agencies include such organizations as the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, the Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula, and The American Red Cross Kenai Peninsula, as well as various senior centers, youth programs, substance abuse prevention programs, hospices, and more.

The level of donations made during the 2006 campaign is a testament to the generosity of the community, she commented.

“Most everybody, at some point in their life, uses one of the services. There’s a connection. It makes a healthier community for us all to live in,” she said. “The campaign results are a great measure of the value the community places in the services our agencies provide.”

Most of the money donated during annual campaigns goes directly to program services. Administration and fund-raising costs were less than 15 percent this year, she said.

While such community largess is wonderful, United Way isn’t taking for granted as much can be raised next year. The 2007 campaign goal may be more modest that $820,000.

“The campaign chair sets the goal every year,” she said. “We will look at the overall results from this year. My guess is that it will be higher than this year’s goal, but within reason.”

Next year’s campaign chair will be Mike Sweeney, owner of Sweeney’s Clothing in Soldotna, she said.

On Friday, June 29, a by-invitation-only appreciation luncheon is to be held at the Merritt Inn in Kenai where major contributors and community volunteers will be honored.

“It will be a big celebration,” Herford said.

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