The United Way of York County has launched its campaign in the midst of the worst national economic crisis in decades. But these are the times when the services of the United Way are needed the most.
In addition to tough economic conditions, this year's campaign also might be affected by a controversy with Charlotte's United Way. Gloria Pace King, former director of the United Way of Central Carolinas, was ousted in August after complaints about her lavish $1.2 million annual salary and benefits.
York County United Way officials took pains to note that director Kim Keel earns a much more modest package -- $65,625 in salary in 2007, plus about $4,000 in retirement benefits.
Even with that issue laid to rest, this will be a challenging campaign. York County United Way fell just short of its $2.1 million fundraising goal last year, and the agencies it serves had to cut their budgets. This year, the goal has been set at $1.9 million -- lower than last year's, but slightly higher than the $1.86 million actually raised.
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Money raised locally by the United Way goes to 37 partner agencies, including local branches of national charities and smaller local charities. All must meet strict eligibility requirements, and all are screened in the spring before receiving funding.
Those who donate to the United Way can rest assured that they are getting the most possible bang for their charitable bucks. The agencies that receive a helping hand from United Way help thousands of local residents of all ages and all walks of life. Every resident of York County can take comfort in the knowledge that a friend or family member is touched in some way by the work of these member agencies.
While all of us also will be affected in some way by the slump in the economy, there always will be someone else in more difficult straits. We urge everyone to dig deep and support this worthy effort.