Johnson City Press Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sue Guinn Legg

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United Way closes campaign short of goal

January 3rd, 2014 9:06 am by Sue Guinn Legg

United Way closes campaign short of goal

The United Way thermometer sits at 90 percent. (Photo by Ron Campbell)

The United Way of Washington County’s 2013 fundraising campaign closed at midnight Tuesday with 90 percent of its $1.7 million goal pledged and final reports still pending from most of its larger divisions.

With contributions still being collected at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and other federal offices where United Way drives were delayed by last year’s federal government shutdown as well as area Walmart stores, several of the county’s financial institutions and other participating companies, campaign leaders are optimistic the 2013 goal may yet be made.

“It may be out there,” United Way President and CEO Lester Lattany said Thursday. “One hundred and fifty thousand dollars is not a large amount (to raise) in this community. I am a constant optimist. It’s still a possibility.”

At the close of the business day on Tuesday, the campaign had recorded $1,544,305 pledged and $155,695 still to raise to meet its goal.

On Thursday afternoon, the campaign remained about $150,000 short of goal with final reports pending from at least nine of its 12 divisions.

In order to meet United Way’s yearlong schedule of deadlines, including allocations to 17 nonprofit health and human service agencies, Lattany said all campaign reports must be finalized by Jan. 17.

Because of last fall’s government shutdown, the VAMC has extended its United Way drive until Jan. 15. At the campaign’s last report meeting on Dec. 19, the Combined Federal Division, which includes the VAMC and the local Internal Revenue Service and Tennessee Valley Authority offices, was at 77 percent of its $105,000 goal with more than $23,000 still to raise. Combined Federal Division leaders reported at that time that VAMC administrators were in the process of asking all the hospital’s physicians to pledge more than they have in past campaigns.

On Thursday, both the Industrial and Financial divisions, which traditionally carry two of the campaign’s largest goals, still had member companies that had not yet reported their totals. The Industrial and Financial divisions set out to raise $315,000 and $275,000 respectively in 2013 and together had just more than $86,000 yet to raise on Dec. 19.

The Merchandising Division, which includes Walmart, was at 55 percent of its $42,500 goal on Dec. 19 with $18,867 still to raise.

Leaders of the Health Services Division, which had exceeded its $210,000 goal by more than $600, reported on Dec. 19, were also reporting that they still had more pledges to come at that time.

“We’ll  just have to wait and see what comes in,” Lattany said. “We would like to thank all of our donors who have brought us to this point.”

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