It’s time to start giving again.
On Monday, the Centre County United Way officially started its 2017 fundraising campaign with a community event held at Toftrees Resort and Conference Center.
“ ‘United We Fight,’ ” said Executive Director Tammy Gentzel, quoting a United Way tagline. “No matter what issue you want to fight — homelessness, hunger, mental health, early childhood education, elder care — the CCUW Partner Network will stand with you in the fight. We will ‘Win by Living United.’ ”
The kick-off brought together the board and staff of the United Way with representatives of the 34 partner agencies that receive funds donated during the campaign. Others on hand included volunteers, donors and local businesses.
In addition to starting the campaign, the purpose was to share more information about the agencies and what they do for the community.
The goal for the new campaign is $1.8 million. That is down from the $2 million goal for 2016, and down from the $1.93 million collected in that campaign.
“We need to be realistic about what our local community is capable of doing given the economy and the shrinking employee campaigns. We look at the current climate and not what we did last year. Each year brings its own challenges,” said spokeswoman Megan Evans.
Evans said that $1.79 million was distributed to Centre County partner agencies. Another $494,506 went to agencies outside the county. The campaign can act as a pass-through for people who work in one county and live in another, or who want to donate to specific organizations.
Of the previous campaign’s donations, 43 percent went to education-related programs, 32 percent went to organizations that deal with health issues and another 25 percent went toward financial stability initiatives.
“I am confident that we have assembled a strong group of volunteers who will share the CCUW story and inspire the community to support our mission,” campaign chair Fran Stevenson said. “We are fighting for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Centre County.”
Over the summer, the Pacesetter Campaign bit off a large chunk of that goal.
According to CCUW board President Betsy Dupuis, 24 local companies and the partner agencies have already raised $351,963. Some of those pacesetter companies have yet to report their totals.
The pacesetter companies include: Alexander Building Construction, AmeriServ Bank, Avail Technologies Inc., BB&T, Babst Calland — Attorneys at Law, Baker Tilly, borough of State College, Boyer & Ritter, Centre Crest, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Jersey Shore State Bank, Keller Williams Advantage Realty, Kish Bank, Kissinger Bigatel & Brower Realtors, M&T Bank, McQuaide Blasko Law, Northwest Bank, R. H. Marcon Inc., RE/MAX Centre Realty, Reliance Bank, Restek, Snavely Associates Ltd., SPE Federal Credit Union, State College Spikes and The Hartman Group.
While giving at work has been a staple of the campaign for years, a new project will give individuals the opportunity to shape and grow their own philanthropy.
According to advancement and giving specialist Monica Wright, the CCUW is now doing personal campaign pages. The project lets people who want to support the United Way or a partner agency tell others about it and let them know why. By sharing the pages on Facebook or Twitter, they can ask others to get involved, too.
“We are fortunate to have a generous match of $50,000 for this project. Each personal campaign page that is created and shared, up to 500 pages, will start off with a $100 donation from the match,” Wright said.
For more info
For more information or to support the Centre County United Way, go to www.ccunitedway.org.