Campaign brings in $224,000-plus so far

The Lycoming County United Way has raised $224,834 so far toward its $1.48 million capital campaign goal to serve over 28,600 people.

The goal amount represents what the 34 programs it supports need to continue serving the community, said Scott N. Lowery, executive director.

The critical point of the campaign is mid-October to Thanksgiving, when donors make pledges through workplace campaigns, he said. Many people will take a deduction from their check or make a donation at work.

The final sum will be totaled in January.

The organization funds programs that support children and youth, special needs, crisis resolution, hunger and homelessness, senior support and health improvement, strengthening families and outreach.

“United Way funds the programs, not the agencies,” Carolyn Hawk, director of funding and community relations, said.

Donations through the United Way do not put a new roof on a building or go to a CEO’s salary, it supports services that help people, she said.

The programs have merit and make an impact on the community, Lowery said.

Every year each organization must reapply in March to receive United Way support, there is no guarantee to getting selected, he said.

The application process looks at an organization’s budget, how many people are served through the program, an audit and how funds are used, Hawk said. Each one also makes a presentation about the program it wishes to receive funding for.

Organization representatives request the amount of money it needs to support the program, if selected by the volunteer panels then the United Way aims to meet the desired amount.

There is no guarantee what is requested is what an organization will receive, Lowery said it depends on how much money is raised during the campaign.

The volunteers who help make those decisions are members of the public who look at the needs of the community, a need that has been growing is hunger and homelessness, he said.

He said they want to help programs that change lives.

“There are basic human needs you can’t turn your back on,” Hawk said.

Putting it into perspective, after school programs are important but giving someone a roof over their head when they are homeless takes precedent.

Both said it can be difficult to expand how many programs it can support because it is driven by how much is raised.

In order to add more programs, it would have to cut funding for the current programs which could decrease its services.

To keep the programs the public sees as valuable, donations can be made through the United Way.

Donors can decide where their money goes, Lowery said. Donations can be made to the general campaign, to a specific area of service or a certain program.

For the 2016 campaign it will support the following programs: River Valley Regional YMCA Williamsport youth mentoring, child care and senior wellness programs; Hope Enterprises Inc transportation and early learning program; and North Central Sight Services social service and prevention of blindness programs.

American Red Cross disaster services and service to the Armed Forces; American Rescue Workers Saving Grace Shelter, Clearinghouse and emergency program; Diakon Family Life Services counseling services; Journey House; YWCA Northcentral Pennsylvania Liberty House; Family Promise of Lycoming County rent match program; and Sojourner Truth Ministries social services program.

Susquehanna Valley Court Appointed Special Advocates court-appointed child advocates program; Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania 211; Shepherd of the Street emergency dental program; YMCA Jersey Shore branch Brick House youth program; Lycoming County Library System Learning Center; and River Valley Health and Dental Center dental care education.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Susquehanna Nurse Family Partnership; Central Pennsylvania Food Bank food distristribution; school health at East Lycoming, Muncy, Jersey Shore and Montgomery school districts; and summer reading programs at W.B. Konkle Memorial Library, Hughesville Area Public Library, Montgomery Area Public Library, Jersey Shore Public Library and Muncy Public Library.