- Michael Cooper Staff Writer
A goal of $1.61 million for the three-county region has been set for the United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties fundraising campaign.
This year the United Way hopes to raise $1.2 million in Clark County, $255,000 in Champaign County and $155,000 in Madison County, Director Kerry Pedraza said.
Last year the organization raised about $1.54 million from its campaign in all three counties, she said, including about $1 million in Clark County.
“(Clark County) has come so close to reaching that goal the last few years,” she said. “We decided to keep that goal at $1.2 million and actually hit it.”
United Way gave out about more than $1 million to 24 non-profit organizations in Clark County this year, Pedraza said. That ranged from the Second Harvest Food Bank to Rocking Horse Center to Boy Scouts to Meals on Wheels.
Former state Rep. and local manufacturer Ross McGregor will serve as the Clark County campaign chairman, while Security National Bank Vice President Jeff Darding will be the Champaign County chairman, Pedraza said.
“We’ve been very lucky that people have been generous,” Pedraza said. “One of the things that we really hope is that people will see United Way as a way for large and small donors to contribute in a very easy fashion.”
McGregor’s job is to work closely with Pedraza to make sure the organization is reaching out to businesses who have historically supported the organization and encourage others to become involved, he said.
United Way has a visible impact on the community, he said.
“If everybody does a little, we create something really special and everyone has a chance to participate at whatever level they’re comfortable with giving,” McGregor said.
Employees can donate $1 per week, he said. He’s confident the organization will reach its goal of $1.2 million in Clark County and $1.6 million in the three-county region.
“We’ve got some more time ahead of us,” he said. “I think we’ll be very successful.”
As a local manufacturer, McGregor said he can see there are people who need help here and don’t know where to go. United Way provides money for a wide-range of charities that span a variety of areas, including the local 2-1-1 line that can get people answers on which service providers can help them, he said.
“It’s something that’s easy to get behind and it’s a pleasure to be a part of,” McGregor said.
The campaign kicked off last month with the Community Challenge, which saw 11 teams compete in all events, Pedraza said.
“It was just a really fun event,” she said. “It’s more of an awareness event, but we’re lucky because we had great sponsorships.”
The organization is working toward improved health, education and financial stability, she said. A dollar per paycheck can feed a family of four for three days or provide three days of shelter for a person at Interfaith Hospitality Network, Pedraza said.
“They can trust that we’re good stewards of their money,” she said. “Together we can make everyone’s lives a little bit better.”
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