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United Way kicks off campaign to raise $15 million

The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County has a donor base that’s 43,000 strong.

As another round of fundraising begins to help support its work – and the work of the more than 100 local programs it helps – organizers are asking people to “Live United.”

That’s the theme of the United Way’s new campaign, which kicked off Tuesday.

The agency’s $15 million goal is a half-million bump from last year’s campaign.

But this year’s effort is less about the actual figure than it is about attracting more people to donate, according to the agency.

The United Way, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary next year, wants area residents to know there are more ways to give outside of traditional workplace campaigns.

“We recognize this goal is very ambitious,” agency President and CEO Michael Weiner said in a written statement, “however, as we look forward to our next 100 years, we thought it appropriate to challenge ourselves and to encourage our community to continue to expand their reputation as generous and supportive as well as to strive to make an immense impact this year.”

In addition to being able do donate through paycheck deductions, the agency says it will offer other chances for people to give.

Those include participating in “NY Gives Day,” which happens on “Giving Tuesday,” at the start of the holiday shopping season. There’s also the annual Spring It On campaign, a 24-hour online fundraising effort.

United Way officials say they can reach their new goal simply if they could add 10,000 new donors who give a dollar a week, or otherwise donate $52 a year.

During its last campaign, the United Way raised a little more than $14.5 million, officials said in a news release.

The campaign kickoff came at the new Main Street offices of the Family Justice Center of Erie County, which offers services to victims of domestic violence. The center recently moved to 438 Main St. in downtown Buffalo and has satellite offices in Amherst and Orchard Park.

The United Way is a regular funding contributor to the center’s operations.

The United Way’s campaign runs through March.


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