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United Way campaign set to kick off Tuesday

 

JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

 

United Way of Lincoln County will unveil its financial goal for the upcoming 2012-2013 fiscal year at its Annual Campaign Kick-Off Tuesday at the YMCA in Lincolnton.

Last year, the organization sought to raise $345,000 for the area agencies it serves, according to Executive Director Kathy Vinzant.

Funding, which differs each year, is a direct reflection of the economy, which in recent years, has struggled.

“Hopefully, it’s on its way back,” Vinzant said.

United Way of Lincoln County, comprised of 14 board of directors, now serves 15 county agencies, some of which include A Place To Grow, Communities in Schools, Salem Industries, Coalition Against Child Abuse, Boy Scouts and two new members this year, the Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln County and Sally’s YMCA in Denver, both of which are non-funded at this point since they don’t currently have programs.

“We fund programs, not brick and mortar,” Vinzant said. “They will apply for funding/ grants when they get up and running.”

Each year, the United Way’s allocations team monitors the individual agencies’ budget and activities before recommending to the board how much money they should receive.

“Accountability is huge,” Vinzant said.

Some of the agencies, including Harris Teeter, Timken and numerous area banks, started campaigning earlier in the year in order to better determine how much United Way funding they’ll need to request.

In addition to area agencies, more and more residents from the community are experiencing financial need.

“We see a lot of folks come through our doors,” Vinzant said. “They are losing their homes and going through bankruptcy.”

Because United Way doesn’t directly administer funds to individuals who need assistance with rent and power bills, among other necessities, the organization refers them to community nonprofit organizations, such as Christian Ministry and Amy’s House, among others in Lincoln, Gaston and surrounding counties, that can better aid them.

United Way also offers a 24/7 211 hot line for anyone who needs assistance. The organization procured the hotline in 2007 through a grant from RSI Home Products Inc., Vinzant said.

United Way has also made an effort this year to focus more attention on education and awareness by taking community members to visit the agencies they sponsor along with speaking to different groups about the services the organization provides.

“They can see first-hand what we’re doing,” Vinzant said.

This week’s Campaign Kick-Off, centered around a basketball theme entitled “One Team! One Goal! Live United,” will feature guest speaker Paul Silas, a three-time world NBA champion and retired coach of both the Charlotte Bobcats and former Charlotte Hornets, as well as a community basketball shooting contest with Lincolnton Mayor John Gilleland, according to an agency press release.

Vinzant noted that Mayor Gilleland has been a huge proponent for United Way.

“We’re so grateful to have him,” she said.

The event will be 5-8 p.m. at the Lincoln County YMCA in Lincolnton. For more information, call United Way of Lincoln County at (704) 732-8055.

“United Way has a reputation … to make the community a better place to live,” Vinzant said.

 

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