Target raised by 9.4%
Area children should want and love to read, the United Way of Cass-Clay has decided. So each month, the organization hopes to send a book to as many area children as possible, said Scott Crane, president of the organization at its 2003 campaign k...
Area children should want and love to read, the United Way of Cass-Clay has decided.
So each month, the organization hopes to send a book to as many area children as possible, said Scott Crane, president of the organization at its 2003 campaign kickoff Thursday.
This is the first time the area United Way has run its own program in addition to funding 52 programs and 36 agencies, Crane said.
"We feel our donors expect us to do more," he said.
Also Thursday, the organization announced its goal to raise about $3.4 million -- which is 9.4 percent more than last year, said Lisa Metzger, communications director of the United Way of Cass-Clay.
Last year, fund-raising efforts fell $50,000 short of the $3.2 million campaign goal.
This year, "we're really depending on employee giving," Metzger said.
Businesses that got an early start on fundraising have already promised $106,739 to the organization, which is 26 percent more than was raised early last year, said Dean Atchison, this year's campaign chairman.
Last year the organization discussed changing the way it distributes funds to community agencies.
But this year it will fund the same agencies and programs as in the past and in the same manner, Metzger said.
In assessing the community's needs, the local United Way determined about 30 percent of area children entering kindergarten had deficient reading skills, said Pete Fullerton, chairman of United Way of Cass-Clay's board.
In response, the organization chose to partner with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library -- which buys books in bulk to send to as many children as possible -- to lower overhead costs, Crane said.
With shipping and handling, the books cost roughly $2.25 per month, per participating child, he said.
United Way of Cass-Clay's general fund foots the bill -- a total of $27 per participating child per year -- and all children, regardless of their economic background, are eligible.
Crane said he hopes all of the area's 11,300 children enroll and that 1,527 children already have.
The books may provide an additional reason for people to give to the organization, Crane said.
While Crane acknowledged it's always a challenge to meet campaign goals, he said, "Our economy's doing well and folks tend to be generous here."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Lisa Schneider at (701) 241-5529