PLATTSBURGH Fundraising efforts for United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties, Inc., are officially underway, with a large boost from employees of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
The business, locally based in Chazy and Rouses Point, drew applause during a campaign kickoff breakfast at American Legion Post No. 20 Tuesday morning with a donation of $121,965. The company's managing director, David F. Champagne, and Wyeth training specialists Tammy Lashway and Diane Letourneau presented the check to fundraising campaign chairman Robert P. Donlan, much to Mr. Donlan's delight.
"This is just terrific. We couldn't do it without you," said Mr. Donlan. "This is a huge percentage of what we bring in every year, and we just can't thank you enough."
Mr. Champagne, in turn, thanked the staff at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals for their commitment to a cause the company has strived to support since 1987.
"A lot of times people take for granted the people who do small things," Mr. Champagne said, in reference to smaller financial contributors. "I want to thank those people and everyone in our facilities who have helped raise money for the United Way."
In addition to the Wyeth contribution, local United Way executive director John C. Bernardi noted "pacesetter" contributions totaling $106,142.41 from a host of local businesses and private donors. The list includes certified public accounting firm Abbott, Frenyea, Russell and Coffey; Agency Insurance; Champlain National Bank; Crossborder Development Corp.; Denton Publications; Donlan and Barcomb Investments; ETS Employment Agency; Eye Care for the Adirondacks; FirstView Eye Care; Griffith Energy Inc.; Landrock E & S Consulting Inc.; Liquor and Wine Warehouse; the law firm of Niles, Piller and Bracy; Nine Platt Hospitality Group; Northeast Group; Northern Insuring Agency; Plattsburgh City School District; The Development Group; and Alan B. and Jennifer Booth.
With the pacesetter results, the Wyeth donation put the local United Way campaign at 32.6 percent of its $700,000 goal.
United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties Inc. annually assists other not-for-profit organizations that provide health and human services to children, adults, senior citizens and families throughout Clinton and Essex counties. Organizations which have benefited from United Way funding include Adirondack Experience Inc., an therapeutic outdoor program for youths at risk and the visually impaired; the Champlain Valley chapter of Compassionate Friends, a self-help bereavement support group; and more than 30 other agencies funding for which all remains local, Mr. Bernardi said.
"With your help, we hope to deliver the goods this year," said Mr. Bernardi, "in terms of getting these much needed funds to the service providers so that our friends and neighbors can be well cared for."
Donations may be made either directly to the local United Way chapter, located at 45 Tom Miller Road, or through a payroll deduction, which may be arranged through the donor's employer.
The next event to support the local United Way will be a polo match and barbecue this Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Bark Eater Inn and Stables on Alstead Hill Lane in Keene. The event will begin at noon and feature live music and sky diving show. For more information about that event, contact Shirley O'Connell at 563-8450.
For more information regarding how to contribute to the 2008 United Way fundraising campaign, contact Mr. Bernardi at 563-0028, or visit www.unitedwayce.org .