United Way 2016 campaign near goal

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Shelly Birkelo
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

JANESVILLE—United Way Blackhawk Region is projecting it will raise $2.34 million toward its $2.4 million goal.

President Mary Fanning-Penny made the announcement Wednesday morning during United Way's annual meeting and Live United recognition celebration attended by nearly 300 people at the Pontiac Convention Center, 3809 N. Pontiac Drive.

As of Monday, “actual dollars received" totaled $2.13 million, said Rick West, resource development director.

The projected 2016 campaign total of $2.34 million would be 97.5 percent of the $2.4 million campaign, Fanning-Penny said.

She said it's "still possible” the goal could be met.

“We're within inches of the goal line,” she said.

Kicking the total over the target could be several United Way workplace campaigns and global leadership companies that have not yet reported totals.

The Janesville School District has conducted its campaign and done the preliminary report, “but right now their staff is finalizing numbers and pledge forms,” West said.

Chrysler and General Motors, both significant contributors nationally, also have not released their campaign numbers, he said.

Since these are all large campaigns, a few percentage points up or down could be a lot of dollars to impact total money raised, they said.

United Way designations are projected to be around $222,400, or 80 percent of what was designated during the 2015 campaign, Fanning-Penny said.

“There are a number of individuals that have transferred and work at these other facilities but still designate their United Way contributions back to United Way Blackhawk Region,” she said.

Other United Way designations come to the local United Way from other United Ways, West said.

These campaigns have not yet been conducted but are included in the projection, they said.

Fanning-Penny said cutbacks "are not anticipated at this time" if the campaign does not reach its fundraising target.

Campaign dollars will honor $1.68 million grant commitments to support 65 local health and human service programs led by 33 nonprofit organizations, she said.

In addition to the $1.68 million in grants to agencies, $46,000 will be invested in United Way's 2-1-1 information and referral service; grants to help agencies improve their infrastructure or increase their capacity; venture grant seed money for start-up programs; emergency funding for programs; and Get Connected, a free, mobile-friendly platform that connects people to volunteer opportunities in the Blackhawk Region.

United Way receives $347,139 for administrative costs, which include staff, materials and facilities.

Fanning-Penny explained why this year's campaign has done better than the previous four campaigns that did not make goal.

“We were able to set a more realistic goal this year using historical information we had available. It was still a stretch but in closer alignment in what we've achieved in previous campaigns opposed to setting such an aggressive and lofty goal,” she said.

The 2016 goal was $380,000 lower than the 2015 goal of $2.82 million.

West attributed this year's achievements to a shift in focus by the campaign cabinet's 15 volunteers who work with workplace campaigns.

“They took on the challenge of trying to identify and make contact with 12 new workplace campaigns at both smaller and larger companies and had some successes,” he said.

Fanning-Penny said it was a two-prong approach.

“We are imploring creative strategies to try and cultivate new campaigns to recruit new givers as well as focus on retention with individuals donors,” she said.

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