United Way needs help meeting its funding goal

The local agency is short of its fundraising goal for 2011-2012 but is making a push to bring in more donations.

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United Way of Walla Walla County is not an ordinary charitable organization. It does not provide services but instead serves as the financial foundation for 16 local agencies and organizations that do provide services -- critical services to children, seniors and thousands of people faced with difficult challenges.

United Way aimed to raise $460,000 this year for local organizations, including the American Red Cross, YMCA, YWCA, Helpline, Salvation Army, Blue Mountain Action Council and Friends of Children of Walla Walla.

But as the campaign draws to a close United Way finds itselfprojecting $430,000 in donations, short of its goal by $30,000. As a result, United Way will not be able to provide as much funding as anticipated for the local organizations unless more donations come pouring in.

United Way's volunteer leaders are trying to make that happen. They are organizing an effort to raise more funds the organization is calling "Bridge the Gap."

United Way is reaching out the community with this pitch: "Be a superhero. No special super powers required. Just a generous heart reflected in a donation -- small or large. Together we can Bridge the Gap, reach our goal, and improve more lives -- right here in Walla Walla County."

Last year's campaign raised $438,000, which surpassed the goal of $420,000. The 2011-2012 goal of $460,000 is certainly ambitious, but not unrealistic. The people of the Walla Walla Valley have demonstrated -- over and over -- that they are exceedingly generous.

United Way is a great investment in the community. Almost all of the funds collected stay in the Walla Walla Valley. A local board oversees the contributions and makes sure that 99 cents out of every dollar stays right here.

Please donate generously to your United Way of Walla Walla County.

Donate online at unitedwayww.org or by mail to PO Box 1134, Walla Walla, WA 99362. You can follow the campaign's progress on Facebook -- facebook.com/unitedwaywallawalla

Publisher Rob Blethen is a United Way Board member and YMCA Board member and Rick Eskil is a Friends of Children of Walla Walla Board member.

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