MERCER COUNTY —
If even half of the 50,000 county residents who are working gave just “a buck a week” the United Way of Mercer County would easily meet its more than $1.2 million annual goal, said Jim Micsky, executive director.
The second piece of a three-phase plan that brings experts from the education community, the financial sector and the health care industry to serve as co-chairmen kicked off Tuesday afternoon at the agency’s 37th annual meeting in Sharon.
New co-chairs David Grande of Huntington Bank, Brian Nespor of First National Bank and Bob Piccirilli of PNC Bank will each serve for two years, Micsky said. This year’s goal is $1,234,567.89, he added. The campaign kicks off officially on August 24 and ends March 31.
Last year’s campaign fell short of its $1.5 million goal, ending up with $982,000, he said.
He also acknowledges that tough economic times are a factor in fundraising, but as the UWMC moves forward, so does the pattern of donations. A little more than 30 years ago, nearly half of the entire amount collected in one year came from a single corporate donor.
“We raised $1.5 million in 1979 and of that, $534,000 came from Sharon Steel. Today that corporate donation is about $74,000, which is why tåå dollars. These are things that make this a better place to live,” he said. He also said one in three residents uses a program funded at least in part by the United Way. An 80-member volunteer committee reviews funding requests and prioritizes where the money is spent.
This year in particular, when state funding for social service agencies was cut by 20 percent, many providers are unable to provide help as they used to. “While we can’t obviously fill all of that gap, we can do something to help those agencies keep providing services,” Micsky said.
The education component was met during the last two years when school superintendents Mark Ferrera of Sharpsville and John Sarandrea of Sharon, who were spokesmen for the county’s other 10 superintendents, co-chaired United Way fundraising efforts.
The United Way gives money to 29 local agencies that in turn provide assistance in a wide variety of ways to county residents. Some of those who benefit from donations to the United Way include the Community Counseling Center, AWARE, the Salvation Army, the Good Shepherd Center and the American Red Cross.
New members elected to the United Way board are Vassie Clemenza, an administrator at the Oral and Facial Surgical Center; Tim Feeney, Wheatland Tube president; Ken Goss, manager of Giant Eagle in Hermitage; Dennis Lieb, chief financial officer of Lube Holdings Inc. and Robert Miller, nutritional services supervisor at UPMC Horizon.
MERCER COUNTY —
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