United Way won’t make campaign goal

Will still fully fund its member agencies


Published on January 18, 2017

Scotiabank’s Amherst branch recently made its $3,500 corporate donation to the United Way of Cumberland County. United Way campaign chair Curt Gunn (second left) accepts the donation from (from left) Shelley McInnis, Neil Lowry, Janet Tuttle and Christa Gower.

©Darrell Cole - TC Media

AMHERST, N.S. – It appears as though the United Way of Cumberland will not make its 2016 campaign goal.

But, the chairman of the annual fundraising campaign says that doesn’t mean it won’t be able to support its member agencies and the community programs they support.

With the downturn in the economy there aren’t as many people working in the community at the same time as the demand for help is up. A large portion of our donors are aging and are part of a generation that we’re losing, while the millennial generation hasn’t caught on to that need to donate. Curt Gunn, president of the United Way of Cumberland

“It’s unfortunate, but we’re still confident that we’ll be close,” campaign chairman Curt Gunn said. “There were other demands in the community and there is only so much money to go around. We’re still thrilled with the support we have received from the community.”

While the organization is still accepting donations for the 2016 campaign (although income tax receipts issued now will be for the 2017 taxation year), there’s still a gap between what has been raised to date and the $150,000 goal.

The campaign is presently sitting at the $140,000 mark. The local campaign will receive a share of the provincial United Way campaign, but it won’t make up the difference.

All the corporate kits have been returned.

Last year, the organization fell tantalizingly close to its $150,000 goal – falling short by approximately $400.

The good news, Gunn said, is that despite the probable shortfall, it won’t impact the United Way’s ability to fully fund its member agencies since one of the agencies is no longer eligible.

“With the downturn in the economy there aren’t as many people working in the community at the same time as the demand for help is up,” he said. “A large portion of our donors are aging and are part of a generation that we’re losing, while the millennial generation hasn’t caught on to that need to donate.”

Numbers may have also been impacted by other fundraisers in the community, including the Garage Guys, which raised money for the Cancer Assistance Fund. Gunn said companies want to support events such as that as well as other charities.

“You end up dividing money among the charities,” he said. “Some of the money we normally get might have been diverted there, but we’re all working for the betterment of our community.”

Gunn said the United Way is also going to take a close look at how it gets its message out into the community in hopes of raising awareness for next year.

“We want to be a little more specific with our focus, which is child poverty,” he said. “We need a more strategic message that we’re an organization that raises money for other charities and our specific focus is around child poverty.”

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell