Monday, November 24, 2014
   
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Different name, same support

United Fund kicks off pledge campaign for seven agencies.

The name has changed and the national affiliation is gone but the need for continued generosity will likely never go away.

Gothenburg United Fund Inc. has kicked off its 2011-12 annual campaign hoping to raise $20,500 to support seven local and county agencies.

Although United Fund sounds like a new name for United Way, it’s not new at all.

In fact, United Fund was incorporated as a non-profit organization in Gothenburg 20 or more years ago, according to the group’s president Karla Blase.

Board members decided in the mid-1990s to affiliate with the worldwide United Way organization to piggy-back advertising campaigns and gain more broad recognition.

“It has worked well over the years,” Blase said.

This year, though, brought time for a change.

“United Way is a big, big organization,” Blase said. “There is loads of paperwork associated with being part of that national group.”

Everyone involved in Gothenburg’s campaign works as a volunteer. Blase said asking anyone to keep up with the forms and filing necessary was just too much.

“We all have other jobs and families and a lot of things that pull at our time,” Blase said.

Separating from United Way to become United Fund eliminates the large amount of paperwork and keeps $500 more right here rather than sending it for national dues.

It also breaks a tie that some community members saw as negative.

Because there are individual United Way organizations across the country which support Planned Parenthood, there was a local misunderstanding that Gothenburg’s money also went to that agency that counsels women about pregnancy, including abortion as an option.

“I don’t believe that’s the case but now there won’t be any question,” Blase said. “Now we’ll keep everything local and we’ll keep everything simple.”

United Fund will support seven agencies that help residents of all ages from infants and toddlers at Building Blocks Child Care Center and Preschool to older folks at the Gothenburg Senior Center.

The $20,500 United Fund hopes to raise is lower than last year’s goal of $24,000 partly, Blase said, because there are fewer agencies requesting funds.

“If we make more than our goal, we’ll divvy up the money among the seven agencies,” she said.

Employees at Baldwin Filters, a leader among local corporate contributors, have already made a combined pledge of $6,700 toward the campaign, Blase said.

Everyone in Gothenburg is asked to pitch in. A brochure mailed to all Gothenburg addresses includes a donation card, explaining one-time, multiple or payroll deduction pledges.

Blase hopes everyone will be conscientious and make checks payable to United Fund rather than United Way to reduce potential bookkeeping problems.

“The people and businesses in Gothenburg have always been so generous,” Blase said. “We hope keeping all the money locally will encourage people to continue giving.”

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