Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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January 28, 2010

United Way campaign offers ray of light in lean times

Fund raising collections exceed 2008 by $400,000

GOSHEN, Ind — Despite a down economy, 2009 was a good year for United Way.

During its regularly scheduled January meeting, the organization’s board of directors announced that the 2009-2010 fundraising campaign collected more than $2.1 million, an increase of more than $400,000 from the previous year. United Way saw contributions from nine companies more than double and those from eight increase by $10,000 or more.

United Way officials credited companies for encouraging more employees to get involved and increasing special events to add a little fun to fundraising campaigns. United Way professionals also talked to employees about the importance of the United Way mission.

Jessica Koscher, United Way’s vice president of resource development and marketing, credits much of the improvement to a change in how the campaign was run.

“This year, we did it differently than we ever did before, a lot more focused on us and what United Way brings to the community,” Koscher said. “In the past, a high percentage of our presentations to companies were done by our community partners. Places like the Boys & Girls Club, go out and talk about United Way and also what they have done.”

The choice to instead send United Way professionals, she said, helped donors understand not just what United Way funds, but what it does specifically.

“They said a lot of times they didn’t know exactly what we did, didn’t know our essential role in the community,” Koscher said.

Also included in their collections was an anonymous donation of $200,000, received in December.

“I’ve been here seven years,” Koscher said, “and it’s the largest anonymous donation I’ve seen.”

Because of the notable increase in collections, United Way has also announced it will increase the amount it allocates for community impact projects for the first time in several years.

In 2009, $671,653 was allocated to Community Impact Partners. In 2010, $500,000 more will be utilized for making an impact in Elkhart County.

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Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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