Cumberland Times-News

April 21, 2014

You can help United Way reach its goal

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— The United Way of Allegany County campaign for 2013-14 will end April 30 and to date has raised more than $430,000, which is over 86 percent of its goal. But there is still $70,000 to be raised in a very short time.

So what does that amount of money represent to the agencies that are requesting and counting on funding? Until I volunteered last year to be part of the Community Response Committee I wouldn’t have had a clue.

Our committee of volunteers has been meeting with agency representatives, board members and clients of all agencies as they describe their programs and present their funding requests for next year.

We review the requests and make funding recommendations to the United Way board. During the process we also review and have the opportunity to ask questions about the entire budget of each agency. This helps to insure that donations to United Way are given to agencies that are fiscally responsible.

Unfortunately most agencies will not get all they asked for even if this year’s campaign reaches its goal. But that’s not the issue. The issue is that the campaign has not reached the goal for this year, so that means even less money.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far about what $70,000 means to local programs. To start with, that amount is more than the total amount requested for any of the 17 programs that applied for funding this year.

It is much more than the amount requested to pay for: dental treatments for 144 adults in the first 6 months of this fiscal year; a parenting program to teach positive discipline; hotline and shelter services; food purchased to distribute through the food bank; disaster relief and blood services; education services for pregnant and parenting teens; mentoring programs for children; afterschool and summer programs; activity and leadership experiences through the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts; emergency, short and long-term prescription drug programs; summer programs and internet access for a local library and more than space allows here.

After listening to these agencies present their funding requests, they all deserve full funding. How much they will receive depends on how close the campaign is to reaching the goal. And having worked for nonprofits most of my life, I can tell you how important it is for an agency to know where funding is coming from and how much it is.

 So If you haven’t given yet, there is still time. You can give online at this website  http://www.cuw.org/content/donate, send a check to United Way of Allegany County, 71 Baltimore St., Cumberland, MD  21502 or go to Facebook at CUWROCKS.

If you recently retired from a company that deducted your donation through payroll, United Way does not receive your contact info so they haven’t forgotten you, they lost contact. And if you have already given to the campaign, please consider giving more. It will make a difference.

Rob Rephan

Frostburg