United Way campaign raises $4.3 million

Derrick Ek
United Way president Ron Hatch (left) presented the Gunlocke Company’s Karen Valle and Don Mead with the Pinnacle Award at Thursday’s United Way campaign awards banquet

The United Way of the Southern Tier’s community fundraising campaign has raised more than $4.3 million and is on pace to set an all-time record, officials announced at Thursday’s, Dec. 15, awards banquet.

More than 100 local businesses and organizations conducted employee drives this fall, with many adding a corporate match to their final donation totals. The United Way also receives donations from individuals.

“We’re really pleased with how quickly the campaign is going. We still have about $200,000 to raise to reach our goal, but we feel good about our chances of getting that done,” said Ron Hatch, United Way president. “Overall, this has been a really fun campaign. As tough as the environment has been, we have a number of new companies contributing to the campaign, and we’ve had growth in a number of places that have been long-term supporters.”

While the bulk of the workplace drives were done this fall, contributions are expected to trickle in through January, Hatch said.

As of Thursday, $4,317,772 has been collected. That’s 94 percent of the 2011 goal of $4.65 million. And the goal was a 3 percent increase over last year’s tally of $4,533,643, which set an all-time record for the United Way campaign.

“I think we’ll beat last year’s record, and I think we’ll go beyond it,” Hatch said.

Corning Inc. and its employees raised about 47 percent of the campaign total, Hatch said.

The United Way distributes funding to approximately 45 nonprofit agencies and 100 programs, all of which provide health care and human services. The money raised this year will be distributed in the spring.

The United Way also runs its own programs, such as the 211 referral line and tax return filing assistance.

Honored at Thursday’s banquet were a dozen individuals who have been donating to United Way’s campaigns for a quarter-century or more, including Jerry Wright and Joe Manning, who have both topped the 50-year mark.

Also honored were some of the organizations that conducted highly successful employee drives, including Corning Inc., the Campbell-Savona Central School District, Greater Southern Tier BOCES, Mengel Metzger Barr and Co. LLP, the Hornell Walmart, Arnot Ogden Medical Center, Charley’s Grilled Subs, Chesapeake Energy and the Gunlocke Company.

Gunlocke – a furniture maker in Wayland – received the United Way’s top honor, the Pinnacle Award. Gunlocke added 81 new donors to its employee drive and increased its donation by $23,000.