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Editorial: Still time to help agency reach goal

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With less than a month left before its campaign closes, the United Way of Johnson County remains several thousand dollars short of its goal.

But the cost of missing the goal is far more than hurt pride. It means local organizations will not be able serve all of the people they want to.

The United Way had hoped to raise $1,488,000 during its annual fundraising campaign, which concludes with a celebration later this month. The goal is an increase of about 3.5 percent over the $1,436,000 that was raised last year, executive director Nancy Plake said.

The fundraising goal was set after the 20 agencies supported by the United Way submitted the budgets they needed to keep their programs running, Plake said. That money typically is raised by companies and employees of area businesses who give a portion of their pay, but this year businesses haven’t been able to raise as much money as they had hoped, she said.

The United Way provides financial support to a wide array of community services and organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc., Johnson County Senior Services, the Red Cross and Salvation Army. In addition, the money also funds United Way programs such as Operation Bundle Up and the Helpline referral service.

Last year, United Way and the agencies served more than 37,000 people. That is one in four people living in Johnson County who have been touched by your donations.

If the United Way isn’t able to meet the fundraising goal, then the agency’s board of directors will have to decide whether to reduce the amount given to the various agencies or whether to reduce the United Way’s operating budget, Plake said.

“We are reaching out to the community and asking individuals, companies or organizations if they haven’t made a pledge or gift yet, please do so. Every donation, small or large, will help us toward meeting the goal,” campaign chairwoman Stephanie Wagner said.

Individuals can make contributions to the United Way, and officials would like all donations to be submitted about one week before the annual celebration March 20, Plake said.

“There’s still hope that we’ll be able to make it,” Plake said.

Last-minute help from individuals and companies will allow the organization to meet the funding needs of local nonprofit organizations and more importantly help Johnson County residents in need.

If you haven’t been contacted about donating, take a moment to contact the United Way and make a pledge. If your workplace doesn’t have a fundraising campaign, volunteer to coordinate one next year.

United Way succeeds because local people care about their community. Your gift will help thousands of your neighbors.

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