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United Way at 64% of its goal

Thursday, December 13, 2012

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

United Way of Henry County and Martinsville is at about 64 percent or about $480,000 of its $750,000 campaign goal, according to the organization’s executive director.

“But we’re still working hard to reach the goal by the end of the year,” Tiffani Underwood said Wednesday afternoon.

“We still have a couple companies that typically have larger campaigns that pushed back their campaigns for whatever reason,” such as production schedules, she said. “We’re still waiting to receive those numbers.”

Another factor in the gap may be that some people wait until the last week of the year to think about end-of-year giving and tax implications, Underwood said.

Also, the fiscal cliff may be having an impact, she said.

The economy “definitely” has had an impact on the annual United Way campaigns the last several years, she said. If the campaign falls short this year, it would be the fourth straight year of not reaching the goal.

In 2008, the local United Way raised more than $1 million, Underwood said.

“That year, the national economy tanked,” she said. “We felt the direct results of that (in the 2009 campaign), and we have continued to feel those results. I don’t think the national economy has fully recovered, and I don’t think it has trickled down to our local economy.”

“This area has continued to struggle with the economy. ... People are giving, but they don’t have a whole lot to give,” Underwood said.

“We encourage people to think about giving and helping people (in the community),” she added.

United Way officials announced when the campaign kicked off in September that the funds raised will help support programs and services at 23 local health and human service agencies as well United Way initiatives around education, income and health.

Underwood estimates that about one of every 2.5 people in Henry County and Martinsville are affected by United Way partner agencies and United Way initiatives. That amounted to about 30,000 people last year, she said.

As an incentive this year, anyone who makes a donation or pledge of at least $156 to the campaign by Dec. 31 will be eligible for one of these prizes in a drawing: a prize weekend at the Martinsville Speedway, with tickets to Saturday and Sunday races in spring 2013; a leather recliner donated by Hooker Furniture; a six-piece bedroom suit donated by Bassett Furniture; an entertainment chest donated by Stanley Furniture; a family membership to the YMCA donated by the YMCA; a $100 VISA gift card donated by SunTrust Bank; and a $200 VISA gift card donated by BB&T bank.

To make a donation, go to the United Way website at; mail a check to P.O. Box 951, Martinsville, Va. 24114; or stop by the United Way office in the lower level in the SunTrust building in uptown Martinsville. The office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays but will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The goal was set at $750,000 this year in honor of the 75th anniversary of the nonprofit.

Last year, the goal was $800,000, and “right at $715,000” was raised, Underwood said.


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