Community members and businesses have pledged more than $1 million in gifts and pledges to push the organization toward a $2.3 million goal, as volunteers strive to raise 3 percent more than last year.
Although the average increase for workplace donations is up about 2 percent, Greater Ottawa County United Way President Patrick Moran said donations need to be up 2.5 percent to hit the target when the campaign ends March 27.
Moran said funds raised during the campaign help the community’s “building blocks of a better life” — health, education, financial stability and basic needs.
Based on the local United Way's 2012 Community Assessment for Ottawa County, one out of 10 county residents (or about 13,000 households) qualified for federal food assistance in December 2011. That's up by about 60 percent since 2009.
For every dollar raised during last year’s campaign, $2.62 went back into the community.
How do they do that? Last year, the Greater Ottawa County United Way added about $1.8 million leverage in cash above the campaign because of how they invested funds with matching programs.
“There’s not much in our world you can give $1 and get back $2.62,” Moran said.
Sponsors are also providing incentives for community members to donate and increase their contributions.
This year, first-time givers who pledge or donate $1 per week to the campaign and previous givers who increase donations of $52 or more will be entered into a drawing to win an all-inclusive, one-week trip for two to the Riu Negril Resort in Jamaica or the Riu Palace Resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The trip includes round-trip airfare from Grand Rapids, hotel, food, drink, taxes and transfers.
Community members interested in donating can do it online at ottawaunitedway.org; or mail a donation to Greater Ottawa County United Way, P.O. Box 1349, Holland, MI 49422.
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