United Way closes in on funding goal

WINCHESTER – United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley has reached 74.1 percent of its fundraising campaign goal.

Campaign Chair and First Bank CEO Scott Harvard reported on the campaign goal at the organization’s second public report meeting on Friday.

“During this season of sharing and giving, it’s important for us to remember that many of our neighbors rely on United Way, and the agencies that we support, for help,” he said.

This year’s campaign, which began Sept. 9 and ends Dec. 31, has a fundraising goal of $1.1 million. So far, $814,861, or 74.1 percent of goal, has been raised.

At the last public report on Oct. 30, United Way had raised $591,961, or 53.8 percent of its goal.

“The need is greater than the total goal,” Harvard said. He urged those in attendance to go beyond their goals to better help the community.

The United Way fundraising campaign is broken up into divisions based on the type of businesses involved.

Mark Merrill, president and CEO of Valley Health, presented the fundraising status of the Top 20 division, which has raised 80.3 percent of its $577,000 goal. This division has the largest goal of all the other divisions’ goals.

But businesses aren’t the only groups that can contribute to the campaign.

Darlene Kent, of Signet Screen Printing and Embroidery, is part of the Individual Gifts division and has raised $61,758 of its $83,000 goal for United Way.

Rusty Holland, executive director of Concern Hotline, expressed his thanks for the help United Way gives that allows that organization to help the community.

He said the hotline gets about 20 calls per day from people needing support, and that last year 7,150 phone calls were answered.

He said he often gets asked about the uptick in calls during the holidays, but he said, “None of our numbers really change over the holidays. What changes are our topics.”

During November and December, the hotline receives more calls on depression, isolation and loneliness. During January and February, it receives calls about financial assistance as people struggle to make ends meet after holiday spending.

They rely on United Way for funding, he said.

He wants to see the goal met to help his organization, as well as the rest of the community, and used a baseball analogy to show United Way at 25 percent short of its fundraising campaign.

“We are on third base,” he said. “We are trying to make it home.”

United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley will holds its final public report meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 8.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com