With its campaign deadline just three weeks off and with $500,000 yet to raise, United Way has asked its board members to fan out and canvass local companies for last minute donations.
The sense of urgency has been elevated with a pledge from two major donors to help hit the goal if the agency is successful in raising an additional $200,000, officials said.
Names of those donors wont be released until the end of the campaign on Feb. 14, but agency officials say they intend to do everything possible to meet that challenge.
That includes asking board members to knock on doors and make phone calls to friends and acquaintances at local companies.
We decided to come up with a list of 21 (companies) and just go at it to raise the $200,000, said Jennifer Weber, United Ways campaign chair.
Well also go to individual donors. Of the 55,000 United Way donors, 47,000 are people who gave under $500, and every dollar counts.
United Way has raised $2 million alone in the past two weeks, putting the campaign total currently at $20.7 million. The goal is $21.2 million, which is 1.5 percent over what was raised last year last year.
The agency hopes to avoid taking money from an emergency fund created to keep charities operating in a community crisis. Last year, United Way needed $1.2 million from the so-called stabilization fund to maintain level funding to 87 member charities.
In all, United Way provided money last year to 155 programs, which helped about 350,000 people.
The campaign update Thursday came during a meeting that also saw the release of data that will serve as the basis for United Ways new Collective Impact model for giving out money.
Childrens issues, particularly improving graduation rates, was picked as the top priority for the new model, and the survey collected data on 8,571 of the communitys neediest children. The children are currently being helped by 16 of United Ways member charities, which provided much of the data.
The Wells Fargo Foundation provided $200,000 to help collect the data and have it independently analyzed.
United Way officials have said the data will be used as the basis for decisions on which charity programs are most successful and which deserve more donor dollars. It will also be used to help charities know where their programs need to show improvement, officials said.
It will drive who we are as we go forward, said Curt Fochtmann, the agencys board chair.
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