United Way campaign draws to end this monthDonations made to United Way of Stutsman County will benefit 22 local organizations this year, from scouting groups to senior groups and from the Arts Center to Great Plains Assistance Dogs.
By: By Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Donations made to United Way of Stutsman County will benefit 22 local organizations this year, from scouting groups to senior groups and from the Arts Center to Great Plains Assistance Dogs.
The annual goal has been set at $200,000, and since fundraising kicked off in September, $53,000 has been raised. The fundraising campaign draws to an end in January.
“It’s right in line with where we were last year — the goal was a little bit less,” said Jessica Haak, a member of the United Way of Stutsman County’s executive board. “We upped it this year because we have greater needs in the community.”
United Way receives donations from many sources, including businesses, which sometimes match payroll deductions donated by their employees.
The organization started its fundraising season with a bake sale in September. United Way has also given people a chance to donate at Applebee’s, where customers can purchase paper stars and write their names on them, with all the money going toward United Way.
Money raised by United Way goes to a wide variety of groups, including the American Diabetes Association, Camp Rokiwan, Consumer Credit Counseling and the James River Valley YMCA.
This year James River Public Transit is hoping to receive $20,000 in United Way funds.
“You apply for a grant and … you do a presentation, and you just cross your fingers and you hope that the funding is available and that you’re able to receive,” said Laurie McGuire, executive director of James River Public Transit.
The money from United Way is used to keep the cost of a one-way ride down. That cost has remained at $2.50 since 1999.
In 2011, James River Transit provided 72,535 one-way rides, helping people of all ages get to medical appointments, church, grocery stores, work and social gatherings.
The numbers of bus riders have gone up since Jamestown Regional Medical Center moved to the outskirts of Jamestown, McGuire said, and with Essentia’s clinic opening there as well, the number of rides will likely increase again.
“So United Way is a big gift to James River, and to the people that ride that bus,” McGuire said. If that funding disappeared, “we would have to find another fundraising source or we would have to just work hard to try and find another source to help us with that.”
Girl Scouts – Dakota Horizons also benefits from United Way funds.
“As a result of that, we’re able to offer our girls financial assistance in Jamestown, on their membership and their program fees,” said Bette Poppen, grants coordinator for Girl Scouts – Dakota Horizons.
Without the assistance of the United Way, the cost of being a Girl Scout in the area would be $300 per year. Instead, members only pay $12 a year to join the organization.
For the 115 girls in Stutsman County who are involved with the program and benefit from United Way help, that’s a significant amount of money.
“It’s really helping to underwrite the programs in Jamestown,” Poppen explained. “It’s like a sponsorship, and it allows us to keep our program fees at an affordable level so that any girl can join.”
Girl Scouting’s intent is to build girls with courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. The troops in Jamestown set their own goals and research community needs in order to do service projects.
Donations can be made to the United Way by asking an employer for a payroll deduction, or by mailing funds to PO Box 85, Jamestown, ND, 58401. Donors can also call 701-952-8929 for more information or to give.
“You can help a lot of people in the community, young and old, and the money stays right here in Stutsman County,” Haak said.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org