United Way fund drive extended

The United Way of Washington County’s latest campaign has stretched past its end date and into the new year, with only about 75 percent of the fundraising goal met in 2013.

The campaign goal is $237,000, which will serve 18 local agencies.

“About $187,000 is what we’re looking at right now,” said United Way Executive Director Mary Anne Bush.

“The end of the year is always our target date,” she said. “We haven’t been able to meet that the last several years.”

Bush said when that happens, the deadline is extended, usually through the end of March. If the goal still isn’t met, allocations for each agency are lowered.

“We set the goal by forecasting what we can realistically raise,” she said. “We thought it was a realistic goal and the agencies do need these funds.”

Bush said the only agency on the roster that does not need funding this year is the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County, because it received a grant that will pay for their services for the year.

Other agencies helped by the United Way include: EVE, Inc., Betsey Mills Club, Caring Connection, Ely Chapman Education Foundation the Salvation Army, the Washington County Free Clinic and the O’Neill Center.

Nancy Matheny, activities coordinator for the O’Neill Center, said the relationship between the United Way and the center has been ongoing for many years.

“For as long as they’ve existed and we’ve been here, we’ve benefited from their fundraising,” she said. “The funds they raise all go toward our services, our medical transportation (services) in particular.”

While each year the funding is different, every dollar counts for making the transportation happen, said Lisa Turner, service center manager for the O’Neill Center.

“Every dollar we get affects us,” Turner said, adding that if funds were lowered this year, “We’d have to look at other sources of revenue.”

Another agency affected by the United Way’s distribution of funds is the Marietta Family YMCA.

Executive Director Suzy Zumwalde said giving back to the community wouldn’t be possible without the United Way.

“With all of the assistance (from the United Way), we gave out over $80,000 in scholarships last year,” she said.

Those scholarships can cover the cost of a membership for the YMCA, swimming lessons and sports programs.

Zumwalde said people come in on a daily basis asking for assistance and because the United Way provides so much, they are able to help a large number of people.

“That’s pretty amazing that we are able to do that…the best word to describe it: awesome,” she said. “It’s awesome that the Y doesn’t have to turn anyone away.”

Zumwalde said she encourages the staff at the YMCA to donate to the United Way, because the agencies that benefit really need the help.

“I hope the United Way reaches its goal and gets the support so these 18 organizations don’t have to answer the question (what happens if funding is lowered),” Zumwalde said. “Hopefully we don’t have to have that conversation.”

Despite the United Way drive being at only 75 percent of the goal, January allocations for the agencies will be sent out later in the week.

Donations are still being accepted at the United Way of Washington County. A brochure containing a donation form can be found at the United Way of Washington County website, which can be printed out and sent in with a check to the United Way at 307LL Putnam St., Marietta.

Whether it’s a payroll deduction at work, sending in the brochure, or walking in with a check, Bush said donations would be appreciated.

“We do appreciate everyone who’s made their pledge this year,” Bush said. “We’re glad to receive pledges from individuals…We’re glad to receive any support we can get here.”