United Way of Douglas County $300K below last year’s fundraising level

United Way of Douglas County is $300,000 below where it was last year at this time in its fundraising campaign, Peggy Johnson, United Way chairwoman, told an audience during the organization’s annual meeting Tuesday night.

While United Way will continue to collect donations through the coming months, Johnson said donations were at $1.028 million with a goal of raising $1.5 million.

Johnson gave the update of the 2018-2019 campaign, which kicked off in September 2018, during a dinner sponsored by Maceli’s, 1031 New Hampshire St. She told the audience it had been a difficult time because of transitions in leadership and staff over the past two years. She also cited deficiencies in connecting with partner agencies and donors.

“We do not want this financial shortfall to negatively impact the people we serve,” she said. “Through all that transition period, it’s important to remember that the work of the United Way was still being done.”

Johnson told the Journal-World after the meeting that the organization was still raising funds for the campaign and was looking at its options.

“We have started making calls on donors to address the shortfalls,” she said. “People forget we are still collecting revenue; we don’t know what the final number will be.”

During the meeting, Johnson expressed appreciation for the United Way’s new CEO, Jeffrey Cornish. She said he would lead the organization in a positive direction.

Though Cornish had been on the job for a matter of days, he told the audience his plan was to have the organization champion its partners while further developing robust philanthropy. He also plans to introduce the United Way to a new generation.

Lea Roselyn, who had served as interim CEO prior to Cornish coming on board, told the audience that caring about education also meant caring about the living conditions of children so they can learn.

“We don’t live single-issue lives,” Roselyn said. There must be affordable housing, food security and early-childhood education, she added.

Focusing on the entire family’s education, health and financial stability was the resounding theme as United Way celebrated its partners in the community while thanking its sponsors and volunteers.

“If we are not supporting the entire family, we are just putting a Band-Aid on the problem,” said Becky Price, executive director of the Ballard Center, who also spoke during the event.


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