United Way sets its sights a little higher 17 agencies to benefit from campaign drive to raise $150,000

BY FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

June 2, 2008 - Hopkins County United Way has set its fundraising goal this year at $150,000 to benefit 17 local agencies. Last year the campaign goal was set at $145,000, and as of last month, the drive had exceeded the goal, raking in almost $156,000 in pledges.

Overall, United Way received requests for a total of $168,000 in funding. HCUW Budget and Allocations Committee reviewed and heard each agency's requests and needs, and recommended funding $150,000, a more feasible campaign goal.

"There just wasn't enough money to go around," HCUW Executive Secretary Charlotte Henderson said of the 17 agency requests. "The committee tries to give as they see a need for. We're still a small United Way. They felt we just didn't need to increase the goal more due to increases in food and gas and other costs."

Two agencies which weren't funded last year have been added to this year's tally. Boy Scouts of America and Safe-T, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse.

In some years past, local Boy Scouts had benefitted from the United Way drive, but last year opted not to seek funding from HCUW, instead holding several fundraisers such as a popcorn sale. United Way has a general rule against funding organizations that hold fund-raising drives at the same times as the United Way's.

But Scout leaders explained to the allocations committee that the popcorn is generally sold to neighbors, family members and friends of Scouts and is not a large-scale community fundraiser. HCUW Budget & Allocations Committee members agreed the sales shouldn't affect the overall outcome of the HCUW campaign and recommended they be allocated $2,500 from this year's campaign. (The Scouts requested $5,000.)

SAFE-T, which stands for Shelter Agencies for Families East Texas, requested $3,000. The HCUW Board Friday approved the full amount as recommended by the budget and allocations committee. SAFE-T's goal is to help provide family environments where violence and abuse are not tolerated. They offer a number of services toward that goal, including educational programs, crisis intervention, assistance and services for sexually assaulted children, a 24-hour hot line and a shelter for abused women and children. They currently have an outreach office in Sulphur Springs, as well as a second-hand store which benefits the program.

Once agency which benefitted from HCUW last year did not seek funding this time around. Last year, Child Protective Services received $4,000 from HCUW. Jason Dietze told United Way committee members that because CPS is not currently in financial need that "it wouldn't be right to ask for money and not need it." He did ask that CPS be allowed to contact HCUW to get back on the list should the need arise later. The board agreed, Henderson noted.

Only two agancies will be receiving less this year than in the past, a decision based on need and available funds. Family Haven again requested $6,000. Last year, FH was awarded $4,000; this year they'll get $3,000. Hopkins County Community Action Network requested $9,000 this year, $1,000 less than they asked for last year. This year, they will receive $500 less than the $9,000 they were allocated for 2008.

Five agencies will be receiving a bit more funding this year. Community Chest, which always receives the largest allocation, will benefit from $2,000 more this year than last. Last year they asked for $56,000 and received $55,000. This year, they asked for $61,000 and were allocated $57,000.

The Hopkins County Christian Alliance this year will be getting a $1,000 increase over last year's $10,000 allocation. They had asked for $18,000 last year, but only $13,000 this year.

The allocations committee also recommended the board give Heritage Outreach $5,000, a $1,000 increase from 2008 and the amount requested both last year and this year. The board approved the recommendation.

Our Place will also see a $500 increase over the $4,000 allocated last year but still $500 shy of the amount requested.

Eight agencies assisted by HCUW will be receiving the same dollar amount.

Hopkins County Court Appointed Special Advocates again requested and has been allocated to receive $9,000.

Agencies allocated $5,000 from HCUW for the 2009 funding year include Northeast Texas Food Bank, Boys & Girls Club and the Meal-A-Day program, which receives its funding in the form of credit vouchers at the food bank.

Northeast Texas Child Advocacy Center will once again receive $4,500, the exact amount asked for this year.

East Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Hopkins County 4-H Club were both again allocated $3,000.

Last year ETCADA requested $4,000, but received $1,000 less. This year their request was fully met.

The 4-H Club, on the other hand, asked for $6,500 from the last campaign and again from the upcoming campaign, but were instead approved for $3,000.

Girl Scouts will receive $2,500 again this year, $500 less than requested this year. Teen Court requested $2,000 but are designated to receive $1,500, the same amount as last year

United Way of America will receive $1,500, or 10 percent, of the goal. Another $15,500 will go toward local administrative expenses, such as compaign and materials costs, as well as funding for a part-time secretary. That number is a $450 increase from last year.

The Hopkins County United Way campaign is a month-long fundraiser held annually in October to generate funds forlocal agencies that assist children, disabled, the elderly and those in need. This year's campaign leaders are John Sellers, chairman; Randal Voss, president; and Executive Secretary Henderson. The campaign is successful through donations from numerous indvidiuals, businesses and civic groups throughout the community who give faithfully of their time, resources and funding.

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