United Way wraps up annual fundraising campaign

FILE PHOTO - Alexis Alexander, Executive Director of Union County United Way, announced at the annual meeting that 2018's campaign raised $1,128,936. The final total for 2019 will be unveiled at the Jan. 21 meeting.
FILE PHOTO - Alexis Alexander, Executive Director of Union County United Way, announced at the annual meeting that 2018's campaign raised $1,128,936. The final total for 2019 will be unveiled at the Jan. 21 meeting.

The United Way of Union County’s annual fundraising campaign wrapped up last week, and while the final total won’t be unveiled until the organization’s annual meeting on Jan. 21, executive director Alexis Alexander said she’s once again reminded about the community’s generosity.

“I’ve been with the United Way for 12 years, and I’m continually surprised, excited and grateful for the community we live in, because people continue to give,” she said. “As we go out and tell the story about what our agencies are doing and how they’re helping people’s friends, neighbors and co-workers, they’re moved to help others in the community.”

The United Way has a goal of $1.5 million, and while it’s a lofty one, the Alexander said it’s a good one to strive to meet.

“That’s a goal we always try to reach for, and we’re not going to meet it, which is okay,” she said. “We’re working hard to make sure we raise enough to provide funds for our 12 partner agencies to continue and grow their services. Those requests are different every year because those needs continue grow. We want to live in a safe place where everyone is happy and safe and healthy. We may not hit 100% of those kinds of goals, but we can continue to work hard toward them.”

Agencies submitted funding applications online this year, thanks to a new software program. Alexander said this will help United Way board members evaluate applications and allow the organization to easily track information. Board members will review those requests after Thanksgiving and meet with the agencies before the entire board announces allocations. Agencies will know how much money they’re receiving before the end of the year.

“We want to make sure that everything they’re doing is for the betterment of the community,” Alexander said. “We think it’s important to have face-to-face meetings. We try to be as transparent as we can be to our donors. People work hard for their money, and it means a lot when they give it to us, so we want to make sure we’re doing the most good with those funds.”

One hundred percent of the money raised in the campaign goes directly to the United Way’s partner agencies. That’s unique, even among United Way organizations, because the administration budget is not paid out of campaign money.

“When we say we’re raising more than a million dollars, that’s a million that’s going back into the community,” Alexander said. “We thoroughly vet the agencies we fund, make sure they’re administrative costs are within reason too. I encourage people to look at that when they give.”

The United Way will also participate in Giving Tuesday on Dec. 3. Visit their Facebook page for a donation link and details.

The United Way supports 12 partner agencies: Boys Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Club, Camp Fire El Dorado, Community Living Arrangements, HOPE Landing, Literacy Council, Salvation Army, Single Parent Scholarship Fund, South Arkansas Children’s Coalition (CASA), South Arkansas Developmental Center for Children and Families, South Arkansas Fights AIDS and Turning Point. Those agencies have been vetted by the organization.

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