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United Way of Greater Niagara announces reduced campaign goal

WHEATFIELD – The United Way of Greater Niagara announced Thursday that the goal for this fall’s fund drive will be $35,000 less than last year.

Because of a new funding policy announced in June, the money raised will be spread among 44 programs operated by 24 different agencies. That’s a reduction from the 75 programs funded in the past.

The $1,275,000 goal was set after the United Way checked with the businesses and labor unions that have traditionally provided most of its support.

President Carol G. Houwaart-Diez said, “During our goal-setting process, we surveyed 150 accounts to see where they are: employment numbers, whether there are any layoffs the public doesn’t know about.”

Houwaart-Diez said the United Way will ask all of its current donors to give 5 percent more than last year. If that happens, the goal will be reached in time for the Nov. 21 “victory breakfast” in the Shawnee Fire Company hall.

“We need new contributors, too,” she said. “The one thing the goal does not represent is any new accounts.”

The funding policy applies to donations that aren’t earmarked for a particular agency. Donors still may reserve their funds for a given recipient.

The United Way asked longtime recipients of its funding, as well as those hoping to begin receiving its funds, to apply for a three-year funding commitment which the United Way intended to limit to programs producing results in the community in the areas of education, health and income support.

“Some of the programs we used to fund didn’t reapply,” Houwaart-Diez said. “They were self-eliminating.”

Other agencies decided to seek United Way money for only one program instead of multiple programs their agency might operate. Agencies are, of course, free to solicit money from other sources than the United way, Houwaart-Diez said.

There are four new agencies that weren’t on the United Way list of recipients last year: the Niagara Community Action Program, the Salvation Army of Niagara Falls, Consumer Credit Counseling and the Niagara Quality Improvement Project. The latter agency is a new effort to improve the caliber of preschool programs in the county, Houwaart-Diez said.

The holdover agencies, or “participating program providers” as the United Way prefers to call them, include the American Red Cross; Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Niagara County; the Boy Scouts of America, Greater Niagara Frontier and Iroquois Trail councils; the Dale Association; Everywoman Opportunity Center; Family and Children’s Services of Niagara; Girl Scouts of Western New York; the Health Association of Niagara County; the Lockport Family YMCA; and Lockport Meals on Wheels.

Also, the Mental Health Association in Niagara County; Niagara Cerebral Palsy; the Niagara County Legal Aid Society; Niagara Falls Boys and Girls Club; the Niagara Falls Family YMCA; Northpointe Council; Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara; Salvation Army of Lockport; and the YWCA of Niagara.

A complete list of the funded programs can be found at