United Way lowers goal for fund-raising|[7/21/05]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 21, 2005

The United Way of West Central Mississippi has set a campaign goal of $1.5 million for the current fund-raising year, down $100,000 from 2004’s goal.

The goal was reduced because of a decline in giving, said campaign chairman Blake Teller.

“In the past few years, we didn’t attain our goal,” he said.

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The goal is also lower than all set since 2001. It was $1.8 million in 2003, $1.76 million in 2002 and $1.8 million in 2001.

During the 2004 campaign, $1.476 million was raised, more than $100,000 less than the goal.

In each of the previous four years, pledges were also lower, failing to meet the goal any year.

Todd Boolos, an accountant and the pacemaker division chairman, said a similar decline is happening across the country and he attributed it to bumpy stock market performances and higher gas prices.

“It’s just taken awhile to recover,” Boolos said.

Teller also cited competition from other fund-raising campaigns in the community.

Susan Ivins, the chapter’s assistant director, said although pledges have declined, the branch that serves Warren and Claiborne counties is still a top performer.

“We’re ranked third in the nation for giving per capita for a community our size,” Ivins said.

The goal was set by the 11-member cabinet of volunteers who direct the branch’s divisions that raise funds for 22 member agencies.

“Now’s the time to put United Way at the top of our list,” Teller said.

The Vicksburg United Way campaign officially begins Aug. 4.

The United Way will donate 2005’s pledges to nonprofit, tax-exempt charity organizations in the Vicksburg area.