It’s been three years since the United Way of Wise County reached its annual donation goal.
“Our goal the last three years has been $450,000, and each of those years we’ve been approximately 10 percent short,” said Andrew Rottner, president of Wise County United Way.
Despite the fundraising shortfalls, United Way has continued to provide all funds requested by the 29 local, non-profit agencies they help.
Those agencies provide a wide range of charitable services and include American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM), Habitat for Humanity, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), STAR, Wise County Domestic Violence Task Force, Boy Scouts of America and many others.
“Fortunately, we’ve not had to cut any funding although our campaign proceeds have been down a little bit,” Rottner said. “We’ve still provided a high level of monetary support to our agencies because of the reserves we’ve built in the years prior where we’d exceeded our goal on several occasions. We’ve had to dip into the reserves to continue to provide the support while the need has grown.
“These past couple years, where the economic times have been hard, it’s typical you are going to see a higher level of need, and we saw that.”
Once again the United Way of Wise County has set an annual goal of $450,000 – and the board plans to work harder than ever to reach it.
“This year we are going to do everything we can to beat that goal so we can get our reserves built up,” Rottner said during the 2013-14 United Way of Wise County campaign kickoff Thursday at Decatur Civic Center. “We’re going to do that by reaching more people. Our board is resolved to get more people and businesses involved … We’re not giving up; we’re going to maintain, and we’re going to hit that goal.”
One thing that sets United Way Wise County apart from other fundraising organizations is that all funds raised go directly to charitable organizations.
“One hundred percent of the donations we get goes to the agencies we serve,” said United Way Wise County Vice President Sabrina Easley. “Everything you give goes directly to the agencies.”
“We’re an extremely efficient organization,” Rottner added. “Since 2006, 100 percent of the funds from our fall campaign has gone to the agencies we serve. There is not any other organization, charitable or civic, I think, that can make that claim. It’s a pretty powerful message.”
Over the past six years, United Way of Wise County has invested more than $2.54 million into local community health and human service organizations providing direct assistance to Wise County residents. Last year they gave $436,120 to charitable organizations.