About 137,000 Trumbull County residents receive services from a United Way agency each year.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
HOWLAND -- United Way of Trumbull County officially launched its annual campaign today to raise money for dozens of local causes, with 30 percent of its 2001 goal already in the bank.
"It is very encouraging," said Garland S. Bradshaw, campaign director.
Employees at one company, Seven Seventeen Credit Union, have already contributed $27,133, a 19 percent increase over last year.
United Way has slightly decreased its fund-raising goal this year to $2.9 million after falling short of its $3.1 million goal last year.
This year's goal is about $25,000 less than the amount the organization actually raised in its 2000 campaign.
Reason for reduction: "Making attainment of this goal difficult is our changing economy, the compression of manufacturing jobs, the retirements and the plant closings," said George Chestnut, the volunteer campaign chairman. "We have suffered."
The loss of several companies where money for United Way had been raised, along with an increase in the ranks of unemployed, can be expected to further strain the 28 local agencies United Way supports, said Thomas Krysiek, United Way president.
"The continued reduction of government funding of local human services further impacts our network of agencies," Chestnut told United Way volunteers assembled for the campaign kickoff breakfast.
The United Way collects donations from companies and their employees through payroll deductions. Last year a record 184 individuals gave personal gifts of $1,000 or more, and there were two gifts of more than $10,000.
About 137,000 Trumbull County residents received services from agencies funded by Trumbull County United Way last year, Krysiek said.
Officials said that they did not expect Trumbull County residents' generosity toward national causes in the wake of terrorist attacks to diminish their giving to the local United Way.
"The local needs are still here," Bradshaw said.