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Reaching out

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By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Seeing some leveling off in the region’s economic decline, United Way of Greater Greensboro is approaching its annual fund drive with caution, targeting new donors for larger gifts, and emphasizing the organization’s community impact and role as a partner in addressing priority needs.

“There are positive signs,” says Neil Belenky, president.

The goal for this year’s drive, which kicked off September 13 and is chaired by Don Cameron, president of Guilford Technical Community College, is $12.5 million.

Last year’s drive raised $12.75 million, missing its goal of $13.1 million, the total raised in 2002.

United Way this year is counting on gifts of $1,000 or more, which have generated nearly 40 percent of the campaign for the last four years, says Judy Piper, vice president for workplace development.

Gifts of $1,000 to $9,999 last year totaled $2.82 million, the same as in 2002, while gifts of $10,000 or more totaled $1.94 million, up from $1.91 million in 2002.

Chairing this year’s effort to solicit gifts of $1,000 to $9,999 are Susan Alt, president and CEO of Volvo Logistics North America, and Dale Hall, Triad market president for Bank of America.

Chairing this year’s effort to solicit gifts of $10,000 or more community volunteer Deborah Glass and her husband, Dennis Glass, president and CEO of Jefferson-Pilot Corp.

To spur larger gifts, United Way aims to raise $100,000 to $120,000 it will use to match gifts from donors who increase their giving to at least $5,000 this year, and agree to give at least $10,000 in 2005.

That effort generated $85,000 in contributions last year, and $100,000 the previous year.

And for the second year, United Way will recruit women, African Americans and “emerging leaders” under age 40 to make larger gifts.

Deborah Glass chairs the women’s initiative, while the African-American initiative is co-chaired by Michael McKinney, vice president for institutional advancement at Bennett College, and community volunteer Althea Truesdale, and the emerging-leaders initiative is chaired by Maria Hicks, human resources manager for ConvaTec, a BristolMyersSquibb company.

As part of its continuing strategy of encouraging donors to contribute to its general fund, United Way will emphasize that such gifts this year also will support its efforts to convene citizen committees to address key health and human-service priorities identified through a series of community meetings, forums and email campaigns.

“We recognize that we’re not all things to all people,” Belenky says, “but we do want to offer people a broad range of care and an opportunity to support critical issues that the citizens have told us are important to them in making Greensboro a better place to live.”

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