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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Volunteers assemble onstage for the United Way 2012 campaign kickoff ceremony at Sweetwater Sound on Thursday.

United Way seeks $5.4 million in community campaign

Goal 6% higher than last year

The United Way of Allen County is challenging its members, local businesses and local residents to up the ante when donating this year.

About 50 people donned white "Live United" T-shirts Thursday morning and stood on a stage inside Sweetwater Sound as officials announced that United Way of Allen County hopes to raise $5.4 million for its 2012 Community Campaign.

That's a 6 percent increase from last year's effort, officials said.

"The goal of (raising that) in this economic environment is a challenging one, but one we can achieve," said Jeff Miller, the organization's campaign chair this year.

Organization officials outlined four key issues – education, income, basic needs and health -- this money will address, which includes the following specific goals:

  • Having children enter kindergarten ready to learn.
  • Having children read at grade level by the end of third grade.
  • Ensuring youth succeed in school.
  • Ensuring youth successfully transition from school to adulthood.
  • Help families live productive and economically stable lives.
  • Assist seniors and people with disabilities maintain independence.
  • Ensure individuals and families have food, shelter and access to health care.
Todd Stephenson, president and CEO of the United Way of Allen County, said among the goals special emphasis will be put on the youngest in Allen County so that children don't fall behind in school.

The earlier children can become educated, the better the chance they will become productive adults, Stephenson said.

According to United Way officials, about 300 area businesses run workplace campaigns, with about 12,000 individuals making a donation each year.

At Thursday's announcement, officials said they hoped to increase gifts from businesses and individuals that already give, as well as attract new donors.

A grant from the Indiana Association of United Ways, which matches dollar for dollar new gifts of at least $100 and existing gifts that increase to a level of at least $500, will also help, officials said.

jeffwiehe@jg.net

How to help

Anyone wanting to contribute to the United Way's Community Campaign can give online at www.unitedwayallencounty.org or call 422-4776 and ask for the staff accountant.

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