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2 United Ways top goals, but 3rd struggling

At midweek, the United Way of Niagara was $100,000 short of its 2007 campaign goal, but eleventh-hour donations put it over the top.

The Niagara Falls-based organization topped this year's goal of $890,000 and raised $1,012,794, Philip Buffone, the vice president, said Friday.

"We made up a lot of ground in the last two days," Buffone said. "The community really came through for us."

A major contribution from an anonymous donor at 10 a.m. Friday greatly helped, he said, as did a 300 percent increase over last year's contribution by the Seneca Niagara Casino.

The last-minute scramble was a similar scenario to last year, when the goal of $887,000 was reached on the last day of the campaign, said Carol Houwaart-Diez, president of United Way of Niagara.

The money is used to help support 17 member agencies that provide more than 50 programs for people in need.

More than 250 people attended a community care luncheon Friday at the Conference Center Niagara Falls.

The United Way of Eastern Niagara topped its goal of $1 million by raising $1,002,500, said Mark Malonek, president.

More than 100 volunteers held a community care celebration breakfast in Lockport on Thursday.

Many outstanding pledges are still to be renewed, which will extend the campaign to Nov. 30, Malonek added. Total campaign results will be announced at a board meeting Dec. 6.

The Lockport-based organization funds 16 member agencies that provide nearly 60 programs for those in need.

The United Way of the Tonawandas, which plans a celebration lunch Dec. 13, still has time to make up a large shortfall to reach its goal of $400,000, said George O'Neil, the executive director.

The number of people who use a service it supports has increased in the last two decades from 49 percent of the population to 60 percent, he said.

Last year's campaign fell 7 percent short of the $430,000 goal.

The organization funds 14 agencies that provide 32 programs in the City of Tonawanda, North Tonawanda and part of the Town of Tonawanda.

e-mail: bmichelmore@buffnews.com

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