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Editorial: Final drive for the goal

It’s a credit to this community’s generosity and the hard work of the Rowan County United Way staff and volunteers that the organization was within 10 percent of its 2008 fundraising goal as of late last week. And there’s still a chance to reach the goal of $1,971,200 by Wednesday’s grand finale.
Given the economic climate, many of those who’ve already given or pledged to give might have contributed less, or none at all, and not been considered stingy. When people are worried about holding on to their jobs and paying their bills, charitable contributions often drop off. That’s happening around the country right now as we confront one of the most serious financial crises in modern history. Like the employment rate and retail purchases, philanthropic giving is directly linked to the health of the overall economy, and giving has declined this year. Jeffrey Towers, chief development officer for the American Red Cross, described it this way in a recent article in USA Today: “This is the worst fundraising environment I’ve ever worked in.”
It’s a cruel but unavoidable dichotomy of life that the same circumstances conspiring to reduce donations also increase demand for the services rendered by the agencies supported by the Rowan County United Way. The need for housing, clothing, food, medical and dental care doesn’t cease when the paychecks stop or dwindle. Fires and other disasters don’t go on hiatus. Elderly shut-ins still need daily meals. Children need mentors and positive role models. Troubled families need counseling. The homeless and the abused need safe havens and a chance to rebuild their lives. Rowan County United Way agencies provide all of these services, and more.
If you’ve already given, thanks for what you’ve done to help your neighbors weather the storm. Others who wish to contribute can send checks made out to the Rowan County United Way to P.O. Box 5065, Salisbury, N.C. 28144-0088. Every dollar makes a difference.

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