United Way of Coastal Carolina aims to raise $700,000 in its annual drive this year after falling short of that goal in recent years.
That goal, which has been a stretch in recent years and would exceed the record-high $660,000 raised last year, is within reach this year because several local companies have expanded, and because manufacturing, the military and tourism fuel a fairly strong economy in Carteret, Craven, Jones and Pamlico counties, says Sandra Phelps, executive director.
“The Cherry Point Marine Corps and businesses in its nearby civilian population are doing well, and some of our big companies like BSH Home Appliances, Hatteras Yachts and Moen Faucets all are up,” she says.
The number of small businesses is growing in the four counties, she says, and United Way will continue last year’s push to involve them in the drive.
While volunteers last year raised $7,000 in one day from visits to small businesses, Phelps hopes this year to enlist more small businesses to run workplace campaigns.
United Way also will continue to target retirees, who give roughly 5 percent of total drive donations and often volunteer, she says.
Zan Monroe, a 20-year United Way volunteer and former board president, will chair the drive for the second straight year.
With money raised last year, United Way this year plans to give $485,000 to 22 agencies for 28 programs addressing children and youth, strengthening families, health, healing and basic needs, and self sufficiency, including literacy, consumer credit counseling, alcohol rehabilitation and aiding the Latino population.