AMHERST – With days remaining it’s beginning to look as though the United Way of Cumberland will not meet its 2017 campaign goal.
“As of right now we’re sitting at 70 per cent, which amounts to $105,000,” campaign chairman David March said. “Last year was down and this year we’re down even more than last year and there really isn’t one reason why it’s down.”
Back in September, officials with the United Way decided to maintain its campaign goal at $150,000 after failing to reach that amount the previous two years.
There are still 14 fundraising kits out in the community, but they’re only projected to raise approximately $20,000 and it’s beginning to appear as though the campaign will end at 85 per cent of its goal, or $129,000.
“People think more about where they are donating their money and they want to know exactly how it’s going to be used. We have a great organization here that funds programs and services in Cumberland County and it’s going to be hard to provide full funding this year,” March said. “Fact is giving is down everywhere and I’m really not sure how you can get around that.”
It’s not too late to make a contribution to the United Way to receive a 2017 tax receipt and March is hoping people will drop by the United Way office in the Maritime Professional Centre on Church Street in Amherst to make a contribution.
March said the United Way was taking a different approach to its campaign this year and also launched its first Festival of Trees back in November. The festival didn’t have the results March was hoping for, but that doesn’t mean they won’t attempt it again next year.
Another factor, he said, is some of the larger donors didn’t come through as in other years while there are fewer people working in the industrial park. He said problems with the Phoenix pay system may have also hindered donations from federal employees.
“A lot of businesses have left the community in recent years as well as a lot of jobs. There’s been nothing to replace them,” executive director Cathy Skinner said. “We’ve seen some new restaurants in town but they only employ two or three people. The jobs we have here aren’t increasing and the wages aren’t as high.”