Greensboro United Way short of goal

Keith Barsuhn
Keith Barsuhn

Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — United Way of Greater Greensboro expects its 2010 annual fund drive will raise roughly as much as its 2009 drive, falling about $300,000 short of its $11.2 million goal.

As of March 21, the drive had raised $10.1 million, says Keith Barsuhn, president and CEO.

Chaired by Mike Bumpass, president and CEO of First Point Resources and the Guilford Merchants Association, the campaign has scheduled a “Breakfast of Champions” finale celebration for April 14 at 8 a.m. at the Terrace at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Barsuhn says what is important about United Way is its impact in the community, not whether it meets its goal, although he says the organization in the future likely will make changes in the timing and strategy of its annual campaign, particularly as it looks for funds to support new community initiatives.

“Thinking about or guessing where a campaign ended in January or December is not as important as the work we’ve got to do to cause change in the community on issues that are important to people and where the need is great,” he says.

A number of larger companies still have not given United Way the final tallies for how much they raised, and some companies have shifted to the winter and spring the workplace drives they used to conduct in the fall, Barsuhn says.

“We see the campaign as being almost year-round now,” he says, adding that a growing number of companies, responding to questions from United Way about the best time for them to conduct their workplace drives, have said fall is not the best time.

And while actual appeals to companies and individuals will “continue to be a significant portion of the campaign that always is done in the fall,” Barsuhn says, fundraising now will represent a year-round effort.

United Way also will try to “work more closely with what works best for certain donor groups,” such as small businesses and individual donors, that the traditional fall-based campaign may not be reaching.”

And in addition to the roughly 65 programs that it supports at its 30 partner agencies with funds raised in the campaign, United Way will be funding special initiatives that focus on early child care and education.

United Way plans to launch by the start of the school year in August an initiative to reduce and eliminate gaps in reading and math achievement scores and performance through mentoring and tutoring African-American males ages 8 through 15.

Funds for that program, which is being developed with partner agencies and will depend on volunteers, will be provided from funding generated through the annual campaign in addition to special donor appeals.

In coming years, the goal for the annual campaign “may be substantially determined based on new and enhanced initiatives we’re committed to,” such as the new African-American young male initiative, Barsuhn says. “We’re working on community initiatives that the community asked us to get involved in.”

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