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With 97 percent of goal reached, United Way campaign in home stretch

The final week of the Rowan County United Way’s fundraising campaign begins tomorrow, and Friday the final numbers will be revealed during the last report meeting at the J.F. Hurley YMCA at noon. Also, one of 12 finalists will have his or her name drawn for a free car.

At the report meeting Wednesday, it was announced that the campaign had raised nearly $1.83 million, about 3 percent shy of its goal of $1.879 million.

This year’s goal is 3 percent higher than last year’s, and campaign organizers said that reaching their goal is always a good sign for the local economy.

“It does give you a really good feeling about the health of the community,” Denise Hallet, who works for Vulcan Materials Company and has been involved with United Way campaigns in Rowan County for about 20 years, said about this year’s campaign.

Jackie Harris, with the Rowan County United Way, said when the campaign is close to or reaches its goal, it means more people are working.

“Anytime the campaign is successful, it usually means there is an uptick in the economy,” Harris said.

The more people who are working, the more people who are donating, she said.

The United Way funds 15 local agencies: American Red Cross, The Arc Rowan, Boy Scouts, Communities in Schools, Families First, Family Crisis Council, Literacy Council, Meals on Wheels, Rowan Rescue Squad, Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, Salvation Army, Trinity Living Center, Vocational Opportunities, Youth Services Bureau and the Hurley Family YMCA.

Last year, those agencies served 73,000 people in Rowan County, according to Greg Dunn, this year’s campaign chairman.

Each agency has a panel that closely monitors it and decides how much annul funding it needs — the campaign’s annual goal is the total funding for all 15 agencies.

United Way works to get donations from companies, employees through payroll deductions and individuals.

The campaign is divided into divisions, like “public employees” or “commercial 1”, made up of similar businesses or groups that the division’s chair works with to get donations. And each division has a specific amount of money to raise.

A big part of the campaign is meeting with businesses and groups and sharing the United Way’s message.

Hallet said a lot of people want to help their community but aren’t sure how or don’t have the time, so bringing the United Way’s message to them is important.

“It’s all about sharing the story, and the only way to do that is to get in front of them and share who we are,” she said.

Every individual donation counts, Hallet said,

The campaign reached its goal in 2012 and 2013, but it needed extra donations from individual companies at the end of both campaigns to reach the mark.

With this year’s finish line in sight, organizers are making the final push. Harris said whether the campaign reaches its goal this year will depend on individuals and the smaller divisions meeting their pledges

Large donations, like the $315,000 Freightliner gave to match its employees’ donations, are great, Harris said, but there aren’t enough big companies in the county for United Way to solely depend on.

Hallet said it would be amazing to know how many more people the United Way could serve if every single person made a donation.

Dunn said, “We want to call on everybody we can.”

Visit www.rowanunitedway.org to learn more or to make a donation.

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