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United Way of Deschutes Co. hits goal

Business supporters of the United Way of Deschutes County gathered together at St. Charles Health Care banquet facility Wednesday for the annual Workplace Appreciation Breakfast.

This event provided an opportunity for United Way to recognize workplace supporters and to express gratitude and appreciation for the contributions of area companies, employee groups, and volunteer workplace campaign coordinators for their participation in the 2012/13 fundraising campaign.

The annual Appreciation Breakfast, sponsored by Mid Oregon Credit Union, drew a crowd of over 100; including area business leaders, workplace campaign organizers, volunteers, local media as well as United Way of Deschutes County partner agency representatives and social service providers.

The event took on a pep rally atmosphere complete with pom poms and megaphones.  One major highlight of the program was the announcement that United Way of Deschutes County has raised, as of March 13, $1,255,862, surpassing their announced 2012/13 campaign goal of $1,250,000. With dollars raised thus far noticeably up from last year's goal of $1.2 million, the organization looks at this as a favorable sign for the local economy.

At the September campaign kick-off, to promote the 2012/13 United Way fundraising campaign John Salzer, volunteer campaign chair, vowed to wear a LIVE UNITED t-shirt every day until the goal of $1.25 Million was reached.  Salzer then went one step further to bring visibility to his cause; his t-shirt was covered with big black numbers that announced weekly updated campaign pledge amounts.  "This has been a great conversation starter," says Salzer with a smile.

On the morning of the Appreciation Event, Salzer was finally able to take that shirt off and present the "Shirt off My Back Award" to Robberson Ford Mazda.  This locally owned business has long supported United Way through both workplace campaigns and business gifts. Robberson Ford Mazda was presented with this award to acknowledge the workplace commitment exhibited by campaign growth each year for 13 out of the past 16 years.

The Corporate Spirit Award was received by Bank of the Cascades.  This award was presented as recognition for promotion of strong United Way culture in the workplace and at the corporate level.  Central Electric Coop was presented the Special Achievement Award to recognize the company's efforts in achieving distinguished results in corporate support.

United Way Director of Development, Darleen Rodgers, is quoted as sayings, "One of the most difficult duties of the entire campaign is to determine award recipients.  Every single United Way supporter connected with all of our workplaces deserves an award.  Currently nearly 50% of contributions directed to United Way come from employees at the workplace and 20% comes from corporate donations. We would not be announcing a successful campaign without every single workplace, organization and individual that supports United Way."

The United Way of Deschutes County, established in 1953, is ever committed to strengthening our community by tapping into the caring power of people and organizations in Deschutes County.  With the help of a small staff and numerous volunteers, United Way systematically identifies local unmet needs and critical issues, and then brings together people and resources to address those needs.

United Way works to raise and allocate monies to help fund much needed local social service agencies and programs. With the help of corporate, employee and individual donations, the twenty five agencies that partnered with United Way in 2011 impacted 74,245 lives in Deschutes County.  This number represents an increase of over 2,000 individuals over the previous year.  Two new agencies partnered with United Way for 2012/13.  These are Healing Reins and Heart of Oregon Corp.  The now twenty-seven partner agencies provide programs that focus on the most urgent and basic human needs:

•   meeting basic needs of individuals and families

•   keeping children and families safe from violence and abuse

•   helping kids get a great start in life

•   keeping youth on track for success

United Way has a positive impact on the health of our community through the support provided local social service programs. In addition, through the funding efforts of the organization, United Way ensures that monies flow back into the local economy.  This funding provides both financial support to programs and the trained staff needed to provide specialized services.  Thanks to the generous gifts of donors, over the past 11 years, United Way of Deschutes County has allocated $ 9,000,000 to local social service programs. This ultimately has made a positive impact on the entire Central Oregon region

The fundraising campaign continues through June 30, 2013. Donations for the 2012/13 campaign can continue to be directed to United Way until June 30, 2013.  This money is utilized to financially assist the twenty-seven social service agencies that rely in part on funding from United Way.  This funding is necessary to help ensure that these agencies continue to provide the invaluable gift of assistance to Deschutes County residents in need of help.

To learn more about LIVE UNITED, how to schedule a workplace campaign, or to make a pledge, contact the United Way office at (541) 389-6507, or view the Web site:  You can also mail donations to:  PO Box 5969, Bend, OR  97708-5969.

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