The United Way of Northern New York will implement small changes throughout 2012 to help increase participation at each area employer's campaigns for the agency.
Chief Professional Officer Jayn M. Graves said there has been an increased push throughout the past year for people to realize the power of their pledging $1 each week to help the north country's needy families. The math now is simple — more people will mean more dollars.
“We feel if more people are participating, the dollars will follow,” she said.
So far, they have. The United Way has collected more than $1.1 million for the 2011 campaign throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Funds raised included $588,973 in Jefferson County, $126,631 in St. Lawrence County and $62,904 in Lewis County. The total for state and federal employee campaigns in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties is $358,689.
Thus far, the 2011 campaign has brought in about $10,000 less than the 2010 campaign total of $1,147,374, but Miss Graves said money and pledges tend to trickle in throughout the next few months.
Increasing participation will be especially important for the 2012 campaign, she said, since many former participating state workers have retired recently.
The campaign for state employees in St. Lawrence County reached $82,748 for the 2010 campaign, but decreased to $60,537 for the 2011 campaign. In the Jefferson/Lewis state employee campaign, $67,148 was collected for the 2011 campaign, $9,680 less than the 2010 campaign total of $76,928.
Boosting participation is just one of the ways Miss Graves said the United Way hopes to evolve in 2012. The organization has developed a series of standing committees to help strengthen its board. The panel now has a separate Finance and Audit committee, a Community Review and Partner Development committee to stay in constant contact with partner agencies and a Marketing and Communications committee to continue to get the word out about the agency.
Miss Graves said these changes are part of United Way's efforts to take a closer look at what and how it funds particular organizations.
While many program grants have remained the same from 2011 to 2012, there were a few new programs that really caught the attention of the review committees.
The Volunteer Transportation Center of Jefferson County received $5,000 for efforts to increase transportation in Lewis County. The Watertown-based agency previously had focused on transportation issues in Jefferson County and has been funded for such through the United Way.
Some organizations, such as the Children's Home of Jefferson County on behalf of the SoZo Teen Center, received a larger grant than it did last year. In 2011, the agency received $12,000 for the teen center; it received $20,000 this year. The Watertown Family Y received $9,000 toward youth program financial assistance and $8,500 for a youth employment program. Both programs were new, and those funds were given on top of $72,500 in general assistance.
A total of $84,550 in program grants was awarded in St. Lawrence County, while a total of $411,625 in program grants was awarded in Jefferson County. In Lewis County, $53,500 in program grants was awarded.