Cumberland United Way marks 50 years

Dave Mathieson
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Cumberland United Way marks 50 years

AMHERST - The United Way of Cumberland County not only swore in a new president and new executive but they also reached a new milestone.

They held their 50th Annual General Meeting.

As outgoing president Michael Stack passed the reigns off to incoming president Michelle James, he reflected back on his yearlong tenure and the challenges that lie ahead for the United Way.

Our fundraising goal this year went up to $145,000 and we did achieve our goal, Stack, who, at 31, is the youngest president ever at the Cumberland United Way, said.

It was the first time in four years the United Way had reached its goal.

It was very rewarding to get there and Im hoping the next executive is as ambitious and they go a little higher, Stack added.

The way people opened up their hearts and wallets was a pleasant surprise for Stack.

The support we received from individuals in the community and businesses in the community and the size of the donations made by those businesses and individuals was very eye opening, Stack said. It really goes to show how generous Cumberland County residents are.

If Stack has any advice for James it would be to promote the United Way whenever and wherever possible.

I think being visible in the community is very important and promoting the United Way in your own life and in everything you do certainly would be of assistance, Stack said. And certainly never be satisfied with what you achieved in the past and where you are. Always strive for something more.

Raising the bar isnt just a goal - its a necessity.

The need in our community isnt diminishing, Stack said. I mean, our applications year on year are increasing and the amount of funding organizations are looking for year on year is increasing.

Stack says the United Way is continually adding new organizations to its list of programs they fund but said he would also like to see government step up to the plate some more.

Consecutive governments have under funded essential programs for communities. It may be an issue of their own funds being limited but theirs certainly a lack of funding now for non-profits.

Demographics also present a major challenge.

Our aging population is creating an increased need in our community, Stack said. We have tremendous transportation issues in our community for seniors and its not being addressed.

Stack, who has been married for four years and has one young son named Brody, hopes people in Cumberland County continue to donate time and money to good causes such as the United Way.

Volunteer work is rewarding and it certainly does help, Stack said. As an individual in business in the community, its certainly in my best interest to have a healthy community.

Organizations: United Way

Geographic location: Cumberland County, AMHERST

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