United Way's 2012 campaign "lagging" slightly

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The United Way, which hung its flag outside the justice building in Cornwall earlier this year, is at 42 per cent of its fundraising goal for 2012.

While a $20,000 donation from a local dentist will certainly help the local United Way, the funds collected by the agency to date are creating some concern as its annual fundraising campaign eyes the finish line.

The United Way of SD and G has collected just shy of $290,000 so far - but that's just 42 per cent of its $685,000 goal. A $20,000 donation from Dr. Rachel Navaneelan is expected this week.

Kim Lauzon, interim executive director for the local United Way, told Seaway News the agency is normally at about half its goal by this point in the campaign.

"It's the economy," she said when asked why things are slow this year. "There have been so many businesses that have closed and there are other campaigns that are going on."

Peggy Haramis, the 2012 campaign chair, said other United Way agencies in Ontario are finding it tough this year.

"It's really hard to know why we're lagging," she said. "We're following the trend right across the province."

But both women are quick to point out there are some significant United Way projects that have yet to submit the funds they've collected and a big push is expected with fundraising efforts connected to the holidays.

"I'm staying optimistic," said Haramis. "I think we're going to make it.

"Our community really hasn't let us down when our numbers are realistic. And this year our numbers are realistic."

The United Way funds 15 member agencies in Cornwall and SD and G, including Tri-County Literacy, the Red Cross and the Boys and Girls Club.

Haramis said the United Counties benefits from United Way funding too, especially for the Winter Warmth Program which helps underprivileged families pay expensive heating bills.

In the past the United Way has extended its fundraising campaign to ensure its goal is met, and that could happen this year if circumstances warrant.

"If we need to, definitely we'll extend it," Lauzon said. "But there's still a lot of businesses that are completing their own campaigns right now."

To make a donation, or get more information about the campaign, visit http://unitedwaysdg.com/.

Organizations: United Way, Seaway News

Geographic location: Ontario

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