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It was close, but United Way campaign did achieve goal

Published on

Troy Shantz

It came down to the final few hours but the United Way managed to reach its fundraising target in 2019.

And that’s good news for local social programs and services.

“This is the latest we’ve ever reached goal at. It literally took until New Year’s Eve,” said executive director Dave Brown.

The final tally was $1,904,765, or 100.3 % of the goal.

A staffer went into the United Way office late on Dec. 31 to check the numbers, he said.

“When she was leaving she texted me and said, ‘We’re there.’”

A much different outcome had been feared. In late November, with the campaign still $500,000 short of the $1.9 million target, the board began preparing for a shortfall, Brown said.

On the chopping block was the successful venture grant program, which provides start-up funding to groups with no other revenue, such as Habitat for Humanity’s handyman program and the Rapids Family Health Team memory clinic.

“But then, about the middle of December, things started to change,” he said.

In the end, more than 3,000 donors answered the call, with numerous first-timers coming through in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

The response followed a public plea for support, mail-outs, and a YourTV telethon.

“We really are a caring community, that really does care about one another,” said Brown. “It’s labour, it’s individuals, it’s retirees. It’s the community at large.”

The United Way of Sarnia-Lambton funds 36 programs and services delivered by 18 agencies.

The 2019 target was lowered by $100,000 after the previous year’s campaign fell just short, ending a streak of success that had stretched back to 1994.

The board sets funding targets each June with the campaign kick-off beginning in late summer, Brown added.

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