PLATTSBURGH - Even with a loftier fundraising campaign, the United Way of the Adirondack Region Inc. met and exceeded its $750,000 goal.
The nonprofit organization, which encompasses Clinton,Essex and Franklin counties, raised a total of $756,200, as announced by the campaign team Feb. 4.
"This is a momentous occasion," said local United Way executive director John C. Bernardi. "In many ways, the United Way is a barometer of the community. And, I'm pleased to report that the barometric pressure of our region remains very high."
Previously, for the last three years, the campaign goal was at $700,000, down from the 2007 goal of $750,000.
"It feels great," said Bernardi of getting back to the goal from 2007. "Obviously the economy has created a challenge for us for the last three years or so. We face that challenge again as we went into this campaign, but at the same time we have added another county to our service area. We felt that it was important, despite the economy, that we raise the goal and we raise the expectations of the region."
Bernardi also took time during the meeting to not only announce the total raised, but what that money means.
"We're happy that we made the goal, but a number is just a number," he said. "What is more important is the impact that our United Way is able to make throughout the region."
"We anticipate that our network of health and human service organizations, 36 partner agencies, will provide some level of service to over 80,000 people during 2011," Bernardi added. "It's our friends, it's our neighbors, it's our family members and because of that we're able to make a great impact."
Kirk A. Stallsmith, chair of this year's campaign and general manager of the Plattsburgh Georgia-Pacific facility, is already looking toward next year's campaign and beyond.
"I'd like to look at Franklin County and challenge employers and companies out in Franklin County to get actively involved in 2012 if you didn't take the opportunity in the 2011 campaign," he said. "For those that perhaps did not get the opportunity or perhaps things were a bit tight this year ... we're going to come knocking on your door ... to help keep that spirit alive."
Stallsmith also sees a $1 million goal as a possibility at some point.
"From a personal perspective, I really believe that with the generosity of this three-county region that down the road ... there is absolutely no reason that the United Way of the Adirondack Region can't achieve a million dollar campaign goal as an organization,"he said. "Mainly due to the fact that we get that type of demand from our member agencies for that kind of support. I believe the three-county region is capable of achieving that sometime in the future."