Lycoming County United Way sets record goal

The Lycoming County United Way, coming off the most-productive campaign in its 91-year history in 2012, will try to break the record-amount of funds as it announced it has set a goal of $1.725 million for this fall.

The campaign officially will begin Sept. 12.

“No question that we set the bar out there a little bit,” said Dr. William J. Martin, 2013 campaign chairman. “But I think it’s a goal that is achievable with a little hard work.”

Changing how the organization made its goals over the past few years, explained Scott N. Lowery, executive director, allowed it to better serve the community.

“When we changed that philosophy about three or four years ago, our emphasis was not so much what the goals were but what the needs are,” Lowery said.

And although there are shortfalls between how much actually is raised and what the community may ask for, that number has been dwindling in recent years.

The organization actually has brought in record-amounts of funds the past few years.

The 2012 fall campaign brought in $1,612,125, which is the most in the county organization’s history.

“I think it’s very important,” Lowery said of the annual campaign. “If the United Way went away, if we just decided to shut our doors tomorrow, there would a $1,612,000 hole in this community that someone would need to raise.”

In 2011, the most-recent statistics available, programs and services funded by the United Way helped more than 42,000 individuals. Those helped ranged in needs from child care subsidies to adult literacy programs.

And the funds are raised totally by residents. There is no government funding provided, Lowery explained.

About 60 percent of the funds are raised through employee contributions through individual company in-house campaigns. Lowery said the support for the United Way shows what a “big heart” the county has.

“I think it’s amazing,” Lowery said. “I think its incredible. I think it shows an awareness for other people than yourself. It continues to amaze me.”

Martin said the organization wouldn’t be able to help the community without the support.

“The United Way owes a deep debt of gratitude to the generosity of the people of Lycoming County,” he said. “Once again the community demonstrated in the past campaign just how generous they can be and how important the work of the United Way is to meeting the needs of the county.”