MAHONING VALLEY United Way drive to run extra weeks

The Mahoning Valley Better Business Bureau contributed $20,000 to the United Way campaigns.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Youngstown/-Mahoning Valley United Way has reached 44 percent of its 2001 campaign goal of $3,250,000, about 5 percent less than at this point during last year's campaign.
The 2001 campaign has raised $1,434,090, compared with $1,584,298 as the same time in 2000. As a result, this year's campaign was extended from mid-November until at least mid-December.
Garry Mrozek, 2001 campaign chairman and National City Bank senior vice president of corporate banking, said the campaign got off to a late start because of the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks and has also been affected by the economic downturn.
Nevertheless, campaign officials said Tuesday they are confident the financial goal will be reached.
"The people of the Mahoning Valley have an extraordinary capacity for joining together and reaching out to others. While our thoughts and prayers go out to the Sept. 11 victims and their families, we must now focus on our needs right here at home," Mrozek said.
With the economic downturn, United Way is concerned that demand for services from member agencies will increase, said Ken Miller, chairman of the UW Community Investment Committee.
Where money goes: Miller, vice president of corporate purchasing for Trumbull Industries, said the Youngstown/Mahoning Valley United Way provides funding for 90 programs of 31 affiliated agencies, six community chests and emerging community programs. Services include child day care, shelter for domestic violence victims, supportive services for the elderly and other critical human needs.
"We hope the community will rally behind United Way and raise the funds necessary to support these vital programs," he said.
Don Cagigas, Youngstown/Mahoning Valley United Way president and chief professional officer, said 84 percent of UW funds come from local businesses and their employees. He noted it is not too late for local businesses to run a workplace campaign.
He said that of the 2,000 businesses in the Youngstown/Mahoning Valley United Way area, only 350 donate to United Way. "All we ask is that companies run a campaign and give their employees a chance to say yes or no," Cagigas said.
BBB donation: In a related matter, the Mahoning Valley Better Business Bureau this morning contributed an unprecedented, one-time $20,000 gift to the United Way campaigns of Youngstown/Mahoning County, $10,000; Northern Columbiana County, $5,000; and Trumbull County, $5,000.
Patricia Rose, BBB president and chief executive officer, said the money was raised by BBB members and divided based on BBB membership from each county.
Rose said the BBB, for the first time in its history, made donations to the UW campaigns to attempt to offset the lower levels of giving this year and in hopes of spurring its members and their employees, and other businesses, to give to United Way.
The donations were to be presented to the United Way campaign chairmen at 10 a.m. today at the BBB office, 25 Market St.

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