PLATTSBURGH - The people of the North Country have once again proven their generosity as the United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties Inc. has marked the end of a successful fundraising campaign.
In a press conference held at the United Way offices in Plattsburgh, campaign chairman Daniel E. Alexander was joined by his fellow campaign team members in announcing the United Way had exceeded its $700,000 fundraising goal. In a year of headlines inundated with national financial turmoil, the owner and publisher of Denton Publications said he was proud people of the region voiced the importance of the United Way by making their contributions.
"We knew that this year, given the downturns in the economy, it was going to be even more difficult than in the past," Alexander said. "Despite the high odds, the citizens of Clinton and Essex counties have once again weighed in and made their voices heard."
"I thank everyone for their unconditional support of the drive this year," he added.
John C. Bernardi, executive director of the local United Way, said he was again proud to see support from businesses, organizations and individuals who, together, made every dollar count.
"If we ever needed to be successful at raising $700,000, it needed to be this year," said Bernardi.
The success of the campaign translates to $702,140 that will be distributed among 33 partner agencies in Clinton and Essex counties to assist them in providing services across the region. Organizations which provide mental health services to childcare assistance to substance abuse prevention and seemingly everything in between will benefit, said Bernardi.
In all, approximately 90,000 people were furnished with services from the agencies in the two-county region, he added.
Though the end of the 2008-09 fundraising campaign has officially been declared, Alexander said the work of the United Way will never be over. With a large percentage of the donations received coming in the form of pledges from employee payroll deductions, the United Way understands there is still the possibility some pledges won't be able to be kept if a person becomes laid off or loses their job entirely.
"We hope that all of those pledges are going to come in," said Alexander, "but we also understand that there may be an issue where some folks might not be able to live up to the pledge they've made. So, any dollars we can get are still very, very important."
The campaign team has already begun discussion regarding next year's goal, said Bernardi. Jamie L. Basiliere, who served as co-chair for this year's campaign, will take over the reins from Alexander in the coming months in preparation for next year's fundraising.
Those still wishing to donate may make donations directly at the local United Way chapter, located at 45 Tom Miller Road, or through a payroll deduction, which may be arranged through one's employer. For more information, call their offices at 563-0028 or visit www.unitedwayce.org.