By GREG RUSSELL
Register Staff Writer
Cooke County United Way (CCUW) officials credit the community for a long history of fundraising success.
But they insist the results are never a guarantee.
As in decades past, the 2014 campaign goal of $400,000 will depend partially on a sum provided by several local “pacesetter” companies that began preparatory internal fundraising in early August.
The campaign’s “kick-off” luncheon, set for 11:30 a.m. Sept. 5, at Gainesville Civic Center, will include announcement of the pacesetter totals, which won’t be available to officials until Sept. 4.
And though signs already point to another successful campaign, officials remain as diligent as ever.
“We can never assume anything or take it for granted,” said Angie Hare, the organization’s executive director. “The minute we think we don’t need to work hard? No — all it will take is for one company to have a change in management or, God forbid, for something to happen to the economy even more.”
Current pacesetter companies and entities include the Gainesville and Callisburg independent school districts plus First State Bank, Muenster State Bank, Nortex Communications, North Central Texas College and North Texas Medical Center. The six-figure amount raised each campaign year begins with those efforts and is supplemented throughout the fall season by other private and public donations. Once concluded, the campaign’s gatherings are divvied among Abigail’s Arms Family Crisis Center, American Red Cross, Boys Scouts, Boys & Girls Club, Boys Baseball, CASA, Cooke County Youth Fair, Girl Scouts, Home Hospice, Meals on Wheels, Muenster Youth Council, North Texas Youth Connection, PRIDE, Reading & Radio Resource, SW Diabetic Foundation, TAPS, Texoma Sr. Citizens/Area Agency on Aging and Volunteers In Service To Others.
Hare said the annual campaign goal is typically exceeded by several thousand dollars on a year-by-year basis, but goal amounts are only increased by modest increments each year.
“Our campaign goal is a conservative amount,” Hare said. “We don’t want to overstep our campaign goal, so we need to be intelligent about that. But when we go over the goal, which we do every year, that extra money goes out as grants to our agencies and it all still does what we say it’s going to do.”
Thus, she added, the CCUW kick-off luncheon has dual functions: to celebrate the preliminary pacesetter fundraising and to prompt others to follow suit.
“It’s just one big opportunity to focus on the campaign,” she said. “It’s hard to go and ask someone for their money. Money is tight and people are being asked left and right to donate to this cause and that cause. Everybody has their pet endeavor that truly has their heart; I do. And we support those, but what we’re asking with the United Way is to take another step, which is to support the one you already do and then support United Way.
“Because when you do, you’re supporting 18 agencies.”
Hare cited CCUW as the only collaborative effort that bonds the public and the county’s business giants for the single goal of helping others. Many of the 18 benefit agencies, she added, don’t conduct their own fundraising since their structures don’t support the extra effort required.
“They truly depend on the funds raised by us and we’re just that helping hand, that lift-up,” Hare said.
For more information, call (940) 665-1793 or visit www.cookeuw.org.