Go big, or go home.
It would seem the United Way of SD and G has taken that phrase to a whole new level – and it looks good on them.
The agency has announced its goal for the 2013 fundraising campaign and it's a tough one: $700,001 by Christmas time.
The extra dollar makes the point that everything the United Way collect, even if it's just a buck, can make a difference.
So with that mantra firmly in place, the agency, which supports 19 local groups through donations from the community, has set itself to raising $700,001 in a matter of just about three months.
I hope they make it, and based on the giving nature of our community it's certainly possible, if not probable.
But it won’t be easy.
Nolan Quinn, the chair of the campaign, hits the nail on the head when he suggests the biggest challenge organizers will face this fall are the people themselves.
Not because they aren’t capable of reaching the goal that has been set, but due to the fact that a lot of individuals in a position of influence this fall are new.
Quinn, a small businessman who is quickly taking his profile in the community to new heights, is soon to be a newlywed, has a baby daughter at home and only recently moved into a new house.
That's on top of running a Dairy Queen that almost always seems to be lined up out the door (at least when I show up).
I'm told, from people who have had the job in the past, that chairing a United Way campaign is a one-way ticket to grey hairs and lost sleep.
With a campaign goal of $700,001 Quinn and his team are making a pair of statements that should resonate with the community: we're not afraid of hard work, and we think Cornwall can come through for us.
The other new face this fall is Frank Rockett, who takes over as the executive director for the United Way of SD and G.
Rockett (by the way, I love that name) is no stranger to the non-profit sector. He has spent the last 12 years working in the industry, most recently at the Volunteer Centre of St. Lawrence-Rideau in Brockville.
He grew up in the Ottawa area, and currently makes his home in Avonmore, so he knows the region and some of the challenges we face as community when it comes to low-income jobs and poverty.
SO maybe this is what we need locally – some new bodies that will inject fresh blood into a campaign that looked like it might come up just short of its goal in 2012.
It took a last-minute fundraising push, including $25,000 on the final day of the campaign, to reach the $685,000 that put organizers over the top.
The essence of that day last year was in the gift made by Justin Watkins. Justin had just won the a prize that included gifts in a sleigh (don’t forget, it was just days before Christmas) and he decided, after having his name drawn, that he would donate the gift items he had won, back up for an auction that was taking place to reach the fundraising goal.
The prizes went for $2,200.
Here's a guy, days before Christmas and staring at a free load of gifts for friends and family, giving it back so that a charity can make budget.
If that doesn’t tell you what you need to know about the generosity of this community, there's not much I can help you with.
Armed with the knowledge that we know how to help out our fellow man when times are tough, coupled with the fact that new people, hungry people, are running the 2013 United Way campaign, it seems only logical assume we'll be celebrating a successful wrap-up in December.
At least, that's the hope.
All the well-wishers and newspaper stories in the world won't amount to much if we fail to follow up with action when it's our turn.
I urge you to dig deep this fall and support the United Way, or any other charity that is near and dear to your heart, so that we can continue to help people who need it.
Others who can’t afford a financial contribution should volunteer their time, when they can, to help these awesome projects succeed.
It only take a little bit of time, or a few bucks, to make a difference.