MAHONING COUNTY United Way falls short of fund goal
Only about 15,000 of 115,000 workers in Mahoning County give to United Way.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- The $150,000 shortfall in the Youngstown-Mahoning Valley United Way campaign will mean reduced allocations to agencies the organization funds, United Way's president says.
"The bottom line of that means that there will be needs that will go unmet," said Don Cagigas, United Way president.
Cuts in allocations will vary based on the needs of each agency and the services it provides, Cagigas said. The United Way funds 31 agencies and six community chests.
After extending its campaign for two months, the United Way gave its final report Wednesday at the Holiday Inn in Boardman, saying it projected it would raise $3,150,000 of its $3.3 million goal. A few companies still haven't provided final totals. The campaign began Aug. 27 and was originally scheduled to end in early December.
"Somehow, we have to find a way to broaden the base" of the United Way fund-raising campaign by getting more companies and employees involved, Cagigas said, noting that only about 15,000 of about 115,000 workers in Mahoning County give to United Way.
Of about 2,300 Mahoning County businesses with 10 or more employees, only about 300 participate in the United Way campaign, said Neil Kaback, a partner in the CPA firm of Cohen & amp; Co. and chairman of the campaign's developing-accounts division. But this year, 27 businesses gave corporate gifts for the first time, and 29 delivered employee gifts for the first time, he reported.
"This year  was a tough year for a lot of businesses. It may not have been the right year to be asking them to start giving for the first time, but we have to keep pushing, and it's going to be very important in the future," Kaback said.
The largest employee gift this year, $284,000, came from workers at General Motors' Lordstown complex. The largest corporate gift was $130,000 from Parker Hannifin through its Commercial Intertech Foundation. The largest community-foundation gift was $120,000 from The Youngstown Foundation.
"It's a tough economy, but I think if you're working, you need to feel fairly fortunate today, and giving a little bit back to the community, I don't think, is a lot to ask," Cagigas said. "The needs are there. This community has always had a reputation of helping its own. As the economy suffers as it is now, that's when our needs increase," he added.
"As little as $1 a week, compounded by thousands of employees in the community, can really make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate in our community," said JoAnn Stock, director of campaign and marketing. About 80 percent of the money United Way raises comes from gifts from corporations and their employees, Stock said.