Joe Gallagher started out his doubleheader as United Way campaign chairman last fall with an ambitious goal of $750,000, "That seemed like a lot of money but having done it the year before I knew how residents of the Kenai Peninsula responded to the United Way which has always been very generous so while I was confident I was blown away by the response this year, it was totally unbelievable and there are so many people I should thank I won't start because I'd miss too many so just let me say on behalf of the United Way Board, cabinet, staff and myself I want to say thank you to everyone who donated even one dollar to the campaign this year because each dollar was so important in not only reaching our goal but surpassing the $900,000 dollar mark for the first time in our local history," Gallagher told the Dispatch. Gallagher credited special matching funds that were made available this year from corporations such as BP that inspired others to give, "It was a $50,000 matching grant which went a long way in inspiring donors to make their dollar mean even more and encouraged them to raise their contribution amount and it was also a targeted match to first time donors of $100 and it was phenomenally successful which along with donors like ConocoPhillips who wrote a $62,000 check this year really helped put us over the top," said Gallagher.
It was a cause for celebration indeed as United Way board members, cabinet, major contributors, volunteers and staff gathered for a picnic at United Way's executive director Tina Marie Herford's home on Keystone Drive. Also present at the party was next year's United Way campaign chairman Roy Wells, "I have some big shoes to fill," said Wells, "but I feel privileged to live in this community and United Way is such a great organization with the help of the community I feel honored to be able to serve as chairman for the coming year," he added. Will next year's campaign look to match this year's $900,000 dollar mark or maybe even look at shattering the $1,000,000 million dollar level? We'll all have to wait until this fall to find out, but until then Herford, Gallagher, and everyone involved in the 2008 campaign will savor the joy of this year's record breaking effort knowing that in difficult economic times such as these the demands for services provided by United Way agencies on the Peninsula multiply substantially. Funds for the celebration picnic were provided by a grant from BP. For more information about United Way on the Kenai Peninsula call 283-9500, or visit www.kenaipeninsulaunitedway.com .
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