United Way Announces $13.7 Million Campaign Goal

Dennis Black, vice president for University Life and Services at the University at Buffalo and chair of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County’s 2012 Campaign, announced today that the goal for this year’s Campaign is set at $13.7 million. The announcement was made at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo (JCC)’s United Way-funded early childhood program.

Before he announced the goal, Black offered his thoughts on the importance of United Way in the community. "I see what United Way makes possible every day. In my workplace and in my neighborhood, I see employees and their families facing challenges, and I know we are fortunate in our region to have such a rich network of services and programs that United Way helps make possible."

Rick Zakalik, executive director of the JCC, reinforced the significance of a successful Campaign to the community at large and to the children served by the JCC. "United Way support helps in several ways," he said. "First, the extra services we can offer children with special needs are able to be provided alongside the outstanding, basic educational and care-giving programs for which we are known. Second, the funds received stand as a testament to the quality and worthiness of our agency when we seek funding from other sources, including private and public foundations and individuals. The United Way’s careful assessment of our services keeps us on our toes and helps to assure the high quality of our work."

The $13.7 million goal represents an increase of $100,000 over the organization’s 2011 Campaign result, which was the first time the Campaign had exceeded its goal in 9 years and the second straight increase in pledges. Steve Finch, plant manager at GM Powertrain and United Way Board chair, expressed appreciation for the community’s support and stressed that it is not taken for granted. "We are humbled by our community’s generosity and will continue to work toward earning your increased support," he said. "The support of our donors makes our work possible, and everything we do has one purpose: to fulfill our mission, which is to bring people, organizations and resources together to improve community well being."

Michael Weiner, United Way president, noted the significance of this year’s fundraising effort and said that ultimately the funds raised will benefit the entire community. "I am confident that even more individuals in Erie County will step forward this year and pledge even greater support to the Campaign," he said. "I know that citizens in our community truly care about one another, and United Way offers an opportunity for each of us to "rewrite someone’s story" and make a real difference in the lives of people who are in need."

Each year the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County invests millions of dollars in improving quality of life in Erie County. Last year United Way invested nearly $13.7 million back into the community last year. This includes $4,497,000 in direct program investments, including programs such as the WNY 2-1-1 Call Center and American Red Cross Disaster Services; $2,823,000 in grant funding secured on behalf of partner agencies in the community; $2,313,000 in United Way programs and initiatives such as Creating Assets, Savings and Hope

(CASH) and activities like Day of Caring; and $4,021,000 in contributions designated by donors to specific agencies through the 2011 Campaign.