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United Way kicking off campaign

Clark County goal is the same as last year’s effort.

For 2013, Clark County’s United Way hopes to raise $1.23 million, the same goal it surpassed by $553 last year.

United Way will kick off its Clark County campaign Friday with the ninth annual Corporate Challenge Community Golf Scramble at Reid Park North Golf Course.

“We decided with all the changes in our office that we’d keep it steady,” said Laurie Spors, who’s serving as interim executive director of United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties.

Doug Lineberger, the local United Way’s executive director since 1998, retired on July 31. Erin Neely, the organization’s director of resource development, also recently left for another job, Spors said.

The goal of $1.23 million doesn’t necessarily indicate a stopping point, officials said.

“We’re definitely going to hit that goal and hopefully shatter it,” said John McKinnon, chairman of the county’s 2013 fundraising campaign.

McKinnon, shareholder-in-charge of the Clark, Schaefer, Hackett accounting firm in Springfield, has been involved with the local United Way for nearly 30 years.

Spors said United Way seeks out someone connected to the community to serve as chair, and McKinnon fit the bill.

“I was quite honored to be asked,” he said. “I’ve got a good handle on the business community in Springfield. I can do my best to show the benefit of giving to United Way.”

One of his duties will be to try to convince employers of participating in the United Way campaign.

Spors said a couple of new companies — “significant employers,” she said — haven’t been receptive to United Way, and “don’t really want to deal with us at the present time.”

In July, United Way distributed $824,867 to Clark County agencies. An additional $45,000 left the area to outside charities, indicating that people who work in Clark County but live elsewhere might be allocating money for an agency back home.

“The need is always there,” Spors said. “That is never going away.”

They’re optimistic that, as the economy slowly improves, those with jobs are in a better position to give back. In 2011, the Clark County campaign fell short of a $1.31 million goal.

“Little by little,” Spors said, “things are improving.”

To register for the golf scramble, call 937-324-5551.

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