JAMESTOWN – The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County kicked off their annual fundraising campaign during a block party in Downtown Jamestown; with a goal of raising over $1.3 million dollars.
Leaders of the non-profit group says this year’s campaign touts several new ways to raise money, providing a completely new experience for would be donors.
Executive Director Amy Rohler tells us that they are running a joint effort with the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County, in order to reach a larger audience this year.
“We have two separate goals, two separate fundraising processies and volunteers, but we have one kickoff, we have one theme, and then there’s a lot of events we do together because frankly there are a lot of county wide employers where people work in all ends of the county,” said Rohler. “So we actually end up doing a lot of presentations and work on the campaign together, but we still remain two separate united ways with separate goals, volunteers, and then fundraising processies as well.”
She says so far the community has responded in a warm, vibrant way, with donations coming from many different places.
As Chair member Mark Tarbrake explains, donations can now be made via text message sending ‘U-W-Hope’ to 9-1-9-9-9. The new era of fundraising, Tarbrak says, is made possible by a lot of hard work.
“Like I just referenced our community partners are so active, and Amy Rohler and her team are just fantastic to work with,” said Tarbrake. “The input they have is helping us greatly, and of course my partner in crime, my wife, we do everything together and work well together so I am confident that this year we’re gonna exceed our goal.”
It is personal for the Tarbraks, with Mark’s wife taking the role of vice president of the United Way; co-chairing the campaign.
“One thing about Chautauqua County is, they’re so compassionate, so generous, and in times that are really tough they step up and they surprise you every time,” said Christine Tarbrake. “So we are really confident that it’s going to be a great year.”
Rohler says that donations from the campaign go a very long way to impact the community.
With over 43 programs run by 28 local agencies, you probably would not notice everything that they end up impacting.
“You know it wraps up, we will announce what we raised on January 25th, that is the campaign celebration, but often times it’s usually the end of the year for people that the most people make a charitable gift, but we do have more workplace campaigns that run a little after that,” said Rohler. “So the public facing, when you’re gonna hear us talk about it, when it’s gonna be on social media, that’s gonna be from now until really the end of the year.”
To donate, visit uwayscc.org and click on the donate button in the upper right corner of the page.