The “Be an Everyday Hero” campaign started the new year off with $1,533,835 in donations, but local United Way officials are striving to hit the goal before the results are announced March 26.
Louann Werksma, director of development and communications for the local United Way, said the community's needs exceed the campaign's $2.3 million goal. She said it is closer to $2.8 million.
Money raised through the campaign will help support Call 211, a health and human services referral line; and provide volunteer resources through initiatives such as Day of Caring, Adopt-a-Park, Students Live United, Rake-a-Difference and Community Baby Shower.
This year’s campaign is about 6 percent ahead of previous campaigns at this point in the drive, Werksma said.
Greater Ottawa County United Way President Patrick Moran said they’re excited to be ahead of last year’s campaign, but there’s still work to be done.
Although they are projected to raise 5 percent more than last year’s campaign if companies donate the same as last year, that still won’t tally $2.3 million.
About 80 percent of donations come from workplace campaigns, but the challenge is engaging those who aren’t in places that offer the campaign, Werksma said. Last year, they presented the campaign to 40,000 people, but only 10,000 supported the campaign, she said.
Donating just $1 a week provides 30 hours of after-school activities for at-risk elementary children, or $250 in prescription medication for low-income seniors, Werksma said.
Two months remain until the end of the campaign, and Moran said they will work until the last minute to raise funds for it.
“It’s never too late,” he said about donations.
This year, an anonymous donor will also match new or increased donations at the campaign's Leadership level, up to $30,000, for a Tri-Cities Leadership Challenge.
For information about donating, or to donate online, visit ottawaunitedway.org. Donations can also be sent to Greater Ottawa County United Way, P.O. Box 1349, Holland, MI 49422.