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United Way gears up

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By Todd Cohen

SANFORD, N.C. — After falling short of its 2002 fundraising goal, United Way of Lee County wants to try to raise more this year in the face of growing needs resulting from the slumping economy and government budget cuts.

“We’re between a rock and a hard place,” says Deborah Crews, United Way’s executive director. “We’re looking at agencies getting cuts from state funding that need more than last year, with some industries downsizing and more people out of work and needing services.”

After raising $860,000 in 2001, United Way set an ambitious goal of $1 million last year based mainly on the needs of its 30 agencies, but raised only $778,000.

Chaired by Joe Clancy, controller at Wyeth Sanford, the campaign has not set a goal, which probably will exceed the total raised last year, Crews says.

While the campaign kicks off Sept. 16, a “pacesetter” drive to raise roughly 30 percent of the total will begin Aug. 5 and end Sept. 9.

Crews says the success of the campaign will depend on corporate CEOs championing United Way for their workplace drives.

United Way, which uses funds raised in the campaign to support 30 member health and social-service agencies, also netted $5,000 at its second annual golf tournament June 16 at Tobacco Road that attracted about 120 participants. That’s up from $3,500 last year.

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