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United Way surpasses goal

A souring national economy didn't stop the United Way of Cass-Clay from surpassing its 2008 goal of raising $4.7 million. Campaign leaders said Thursday that the agency has collected $4,702,261, a 6.7 percent increase over last year. "It's been a...

A souring national economy didn't stop the United Way of Cass-Clay from surpassing its 2008 goal of raising $4.7 million.

Campaign leaders said Thursday that the agency has collected $4,702,261, a 6.7 percent increase over last year.

"It's been a great ride," said Craig Lemieux, campaign chairman, crediting 3,000 community volunteers, more than 600 businesses and more than 16,000 individual donors for their efforts starting in September.

United Way leaders decided early on that that they were not going to talk about how "crappy" the economy was, Lemieux said.

He encouraged participants to have fun, Lemieux said.

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"When you have fun, you draw more people in," he said. "We engaged a lot of people.

We told people what we needed to be done. The creativity in this town is unbelievable."

Several new businesses and individual donors were involved in this year's campaign, said Judy Green, United Way of Cass-Clay president.

"Amazingly enough, even in these challenging times, many of them stepped up and gave more," Green said.

She credited the life-changing experiences and stories depicted in 2008 campaign videos and the "Live United" motto with helping drive its success.

The 2009 campaign will be a challenge given the current economy, said Lemieux.

"We've got some great ideas, and I really think the community will come through," he said.

Since 2000, donations to the local United Way campaign have increased by nearly

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$2 million.

United Way supports 48 agencies and 67 programs in Clay and Cass counties.

Inforum searchword: Business

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502

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