United Way Donations Top 2013 Campaign Goal!!!
By Christopher Michel Olean Times Herald
OLEAN — Christmas came a few days early for the United Way of Cattaraugus County.
At the end of last week, United Way officials determined the organization’s 2013 Giving Campaign has raised $402,000, exceeding its $400,000 goal. The annual donation drive kicked off Sept. 7 and runs through Dec. 31.
“When we calculated that we were over, we went back and double-checked,” said Candace Plants, the United Way’s executive director. “We’re just so excited. This is really a wonderful Christmas present for us. We still have some outstanding accounts that we’re still waiting to hear from, too.”
The 2013 campaign’s success is a rebound of sorts for the organization.
The United Way raised $386,000 in its 2012 campaign — just $14,000 less than its campaign goal. The organization last met its $400,000 campaign goal in 2011 when it raised approximately $401,000.
Mrs. Plants reported the top three corporate donors to this year’s fundraiser are CUTCO (employee contributions), which gave $68,000, the Olean Wholesale Group, which gave $44,000, and Dresser-Rand and the United Steelworkers union, which gave $43,000.
She noted private donations from individuals also played a critical role in the three-month-long fundraiser.
“We did a direct mailer to a lot of retirees who used to give through payroll deduction when they were working,” Mrs. Plants said. “We got a great response right away from them … After that, their donations kept coming in.”
Though the United Way has met its fundraising benchmark this year, it will still accept donations of any amount until the end of the year. That funding will be easily put to good use, Mrs. Plants said.
“We always have more requests for allocations than we are able to raise,” Mrs. Plants said. “When people give donations to the United Way, it goes to many organizations in the community.”
Proceeds of last year’s campaign were spread among 18 different local charities and service organizations that assist more than 20,000 area residents. Past organizations benefiting from United Way funding include: The Mental Health Association, Salamanca Youth Center, HomeCare & Hospice, Genesis House, Warming House, Boy Scouts of America, Girls Scouts of the USA, Special Olympics, YMCA after-school programs, Olean Child Daycare, YMCA Daycare and Interfaith Caregivers, among others.
Members of the United Way’s Board of Directors will meet in January to determine how donations from this year’s fundraiser will be allocated.
Those interested in making a contribution to the 2013 giving campaign should mail donations to United Way of Cattaraugus County Inc., 807 W. State St., Olean, NY 14760. Donations also may be made online at www.uwcattco.org, or through many area employers offering payroll-deduction contributions.
United Way officials intend to release a report on how much the campaign raised in mid-January.