Every gift makes a difference.
That gift might be $5. It might be a check for $500. In some cases, the donations reach into the thousands of dollars. Donations from individuals make up the greatest number of contributions to the United Fund each year, and each and every one of them is critical.
And while it seems like we hear that this year is the most important ever when it comes to charitable giving, this year's drive is indeed important. Perhaps the most important in many years.
The United Fund of Brewton and East Brewton is in the process of trying to raise $90,000. Of that amount, every penny will be spent locally. There are some minor administrative expenses associated with holding a campaign that large. But those expenses are minimal and the money spent on postage, to make signs and brochures is spent locally. Not charity, but certainly it helps the local economy.
None of the money raised goes towards paying for a staff, or offices, or utilities. There are no national membership dues that come out of the total, just a few hundred dollars to put on the campaign. That means nearly 100 percent of the funds raised this year will go straight to work at the 15 charitable groups that the United Fund of Brewton and East Brewton support.
That's part of what makes this year, like every year, so important. Another reason is that for the third consecutive year, the local board of the United Fund is actually planning to increase the total allocations and increase the number of agencies it is helping to fund.
The past three years have seen funding grow from $53,795 in 2001 to $71,000 in 2002, to over $87,000 last year. Without making them sound greedy, the agencies that receive funding have been able to increase the number of people they assist here because their allocations have gone up. As the contributions from United Fund have increased, so have the expectations.
At the same time, United Fund has added at least one new agency every year for the past four years.
That means that the pie has got to be sliced into more pieces. While the financial juggling can be difficult, it is important for the scope of the United Fund to expand, to offer resources to additional agencies which in turn will reach a larger segment of the population.
Those are two more reasons why this year is a critical one for the local campaign.
Finally, state-provided services are likely to suffer this year as our legislators have slashed funding to most state agencies. Many of those cuts are doubly painful because they will result in the loss of matching funds from the federal government and other sources. That means the public is going to have to rely on grass-roots efforts, through local churches or other organizations, to meet the needs of the citizens. That makes the work of the 15 current United Fund member agencies, and all other charitable groups, even more valuable in the coming months.
Individual donations are critical to the success of United Fund's campaign this year. It is those donations that make up a bulk of the donations. And through employer-matching donations, those individual donations can add up in a hurry.
Every year is an important year for United Fund, and a variety of other very worthy organizations that raise money for good public works. As the needs in this community continue to grow, each year will be more important for those organizations to be successful than the previous one. You can help. Each of us working individually makes for one powerful united front. We can make for a powerful United Fund.