United Way strives to raise $1.3M

ALBANY, Ga. — The 2011 fundraising campaign for United Way of Southwest Georgia is now in full swing.

The campaign’s kickoff officially took place on Friday morning at Albany Technical College, which was attended by more than 100 people.

For this year, officials have set a fundraising goal of $1.3 million, $100,000 more than what was raised last year.

“I feel we have assembled a great team of campaign cabinet volunteers this year, and we expect nothing less than to have a great campaign this year,” said Scott Tomlinson, who is serving as this year’s campaign chairman.

Last year, the organization’s goal was $1.5 million. The year before that achieved similar results to the 2010 effort with United Way having raised $1.2 million, $300,000 less than the initial goal.

United Way, which is now headquartered on North Westover Boulevard, launched a “Community Impact” initiative last year that focuses on improving the community, through the donations it receives, for four areas — education, income, health and basic needs — and measures success through the impact of each.

In so doing, the organization has partnered with 20-30 community agencies in 13 counties in the Southwest Georgia area. Roughly 90 cents of every dollar raised goes to assisting individuals that have been reached out to by the partnering agencies.

“Our message is not so much (about) how many programs we support, but the new impactful way we are measuring program outcomes concentrated specifically around critical community issues,” said Dwayne Myles, president and chief executive officer of United Way. “It’s more about addressing the critical issues in our community, and not how many programs we have listed on the back of our brochure.”