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United Way shifting focus

Tom Jackson • Mar 4, 2014 at 8:00 AM

United Way of Erie County leaders announced this week that the agency has reached 83 percent of its $650,000 fundraising goal.

The final result isn’t likely to get much beyond that, although money is still coming in, said the agency’s executive director, Pamela Brumbaugh.

“I’m hoping we come in a little bit higher yet,” Brumbaugh said.

The report came at Wednesday’s “Campaign Celebration of Success,” at Castaway Bay, which honored the local businesses and organizations who enjoyed the most success in raising money for United Way’s fundraising drive.

The $650,000 goal followed several years in which the organization had set a $750,000 goal but been unable to reach it.

No decision has been made on what next drive’s goal will be.

“We need to discuss that,” said David Springer of Industrial Nut, who in January began a three-year term as the board’s president. “At the appropriate time, we’ll release that”

Changing demographics in Sandusky have made fundraising a challenge, United Way officials said.

Brumbaugh told a crowd of several dozen people that she didn’t want the discussion about fundraising goals to obscure the fact that United Way had succeeded in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to aid people in Erie County who need help.

“I call that a victory,” she said. “We need to remember that United Way is more than a fundraising machine”

Officials from a number of local companies and government organizations were given awards for their success in raising money for United Way in the just-concluded drive.

Three companies were honored for raising more than $20,000: Sandusky International, a subsidiary of MetalTek International; Citizens Bank and KBI, Kyklos Bearing International.

Four companies received nods for raising between $10,000 and $20,000: FirstEnergy, Buckeye CableSystem, Industrial Nut Corp. and the Sandusky Register.

Five organizations got awards for raising between $5,000 and $10,000: N2Y, UPS, Erie County government offices, Sandusky City Schools administrative offices and the City of Sandusky.

Springer and Brumbaugh also talked about the local United Way chapter’s decision to switch to a community impact model to guide its efforts.

The idea is to go beyond the agency’s traditional fund-raising role, which will continue, and take a more hands-on approach, Springer said.

The idea is to look at what problems are not being met in the area and take steps to deal with them.

“It’s a more proactive role for the United Way” he said.

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