United Way cup half full
By Sharon Navarro
As the holiday season is upon us the United Way is still in full swing trying to meet their goal of $4.7 million and vow not to quit until their stocking is full.
"We've decided to step down out of the public eye to let other associations fund-raise, but we won't stop until we reach our goal," said Rick Stevenson, resource development director for the London/Middlesex chapter of the United Way.
The latest tabulations show $3.5 million has been raised so far, but with 100 outstanding corporate accounts and 1,500 individuals who have yet to be contacted, the United Way campaign is far from over, he said. Stevenson added for the following weeks the campaign is in "clean-up" mode, collecting donations.
The recent mail strike has hampered fund-raising efforts but both St. Joseph's Health Centre Foundation and the London Health Sciences Foundation have offered the use of their phone centres to the United Way, to call donors who have received mail in the past or pledged but have not yet responded to the request.
"We don't want to leave any stone unturned. If corporations and private individual donations meet projected amounts, then I am optimistic we will reach our goal," Stevenson said.
The Hospital Foundations are great partners in our cause, said Brian Lessard, chair of the United Way fund-raising campaign in London. He added the opportunity to use their facilities and staff allows the United Way to focus on meeting their financial goal.
"But it's not all about the money," Stevenson said. In this year's campaign, one of the main objectives was to increase the general awareness of the need for support of many London services. "This year we've succeeded at spreading the awareness of the need for donations and the London community has responded generously," Lessard said.
Our studies indicate people are taking the initiative to become aware and recognize the benefits of their support, Stevenson said. He added this year the United Way has attracted new donors, increased fund-raising participation and the average individual sponsorship.
Western's United Way campaign has also been successful in spreading awareness of the need for support but with funds still in the tabulation process, the latest figure of $121,393 appears to be short of the university's goal of $260,000.
"I am very positive that we will reach our goal," said Western United Way co-chair, Kirsten Bennett. "I know that the Western community will pull together as we have done in the past."