The pace has been set for United Way of Southern Chautauqua County's 2012 campaign.
Monday, a group of 21 local businesses and organizations came together at a Pacesetter Kickoff campaign hosted by Wegmans.
"Our goal this year is $1,310,000. That's a big number for this community and it's vital that our Pacesetters hit the ground running and really set the tone for the rest of the campaign. We're hoping to raise a little more than 10 percent of that goal by the end of August," said Vince Horrigan, campaign chairman.
The general campaign begins in mid-September. However, Liz Lingenfelter, Wegmans store manager and Pacesetter chair, said that the goal is to raise more than $142,000 over the next several weeks.
"It's a great responsibility, because the need is great. And, we know the need continues to grow. There are a lot of folks that count on the work the Pacesetters group does," Lingenfelter said.
The local United Way supports 19 partner agencies and 46 programs throughout Southern Chautauqua County.
"We are humbled by the need in this community. It's never a hesitation for our group to be a part of the Pacesetter campaign," Lingenfelter said.
Each of the businesses received a packet from the United Way during the meeting. Aside from campaign promotional materials, such as posters and brochures, each packet also contained information with how the money from previous years had been invested. It also gave each business its own history of giving over the past several years.
"Remember that we really struggle to reach out to the next generation, that millenial group of folks, to really make a commitment to support and a reason to give out of their pocket," said Tory Irgang, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County executive director.
The group shared ways that they have found to be successful in getting employees to donate toward the campaign. Ideas included luncheons, drawings for paid time off and getting younger people involved in campaign planning.
The organizations that have volunteered to help set the pace for the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County in 2012 are Alliance Advisory Group; American Red Cross; CBA Vision Rehabilitation Services; Chautauqua Adult Day Care Centers, Inc.; Chautauqua County Employees; Chautauqua Eye Care; Chautauqua Patrons Insurance Company; Community Bank NA; Court Appointed Special Advocates of Chautauqua County, Inc.; Glatz Agency; Habiterra; Jamestown Board of PUblic Utilities employees, including IBEW 459, IBEW 106 and Teamsters 264; Jamestown Savings Bank; Joint Neighborhood Project; Ring Precision Components; Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union; Spectrum Eyecare; UPS; United Way; Wegmans; and Weinberg Financial Group.
"The businesses represented here today and reflected here today have been at this for a number of years. So, there are real firecrackers, and they're ready to get this campaign started in grand style," Lingenfelter said.