“Extraordinary” and “overwhelmed” are the words that came to United Way Board Chair Johann Ramsaran as he reviewed the results of the organization’s 2012 Campaign. “I am truly overwhelmed by the support of the community members throughout Lanark County, who donated over $372,820 to our campaign”, said Ramsaran. “This is truly an extraordinary achievement and it marks the highest amount received from the community in our history. What an excellent way to celebrate our 25th Anniversary.”

The recent campaign, which ran throughout the County during the fall of 2012, starting with Kick-off breakfasts in late September and ending on November 30th, involved volunteers and community members working hard to meet the goal of $330,000. “To exceed our goal by over $42,000 is just amazing, and shows the commitment of the community to support the work of our 16 member agencies,” said Ramsaran.

Started in 1987 by members of the local community, United Way Lanark County has struggled over the past several years in reaching its campaign goal, as the economic reality of the times meant that community members were unable to contribute as they had in the past. “This marks a turning point for our United Way and our member agencies,” saidExecutive Director Sarah Bridson, “as the amount raised exceeds what was our previous high set in 2008. We are now able to increase our support to those who help individuals and families in need across Lanark County, reaching out to 1 in 9 community members.” This year’s campaign featured a mix of special events and volunteer support that helped donors to sign up for payroll deductions or to donate directly to the United Way. “There is no way we would be able to achieve this milestone without the volunteers who help us reach out to the community at local events,” said Bridson, “and within organizations where they encourage support of the United Way through regular pay roll deductions.”

This year marked a number of firsts for the United Way, as the organization worked hard to achieve the campaign goal. “We moved to on-line social media donations, which allowed us to involve the community directly in our main special event, My Town’s Got Talent”, said Fund Development Officer Fraser Scantlebury, “as well as improved communication through individual events such as the Kick-off breakfasts held in Perth, Smiths Falls, Carleton Place and Almonte. Our sponsors, who donated to our events, campaign mailers, and advertisements in the local papers, were essential to our success, and I want to thank all of those community minded businesses and organizations who helped. We could not have done it without their support!”

To celebrate the success of the 2012 Campaign, the United Way will be recognizing that community support at their Annual General Meeting, which will be held on April 22nd at 7:00PM in the Learning Commons (library) at the Smiths Falls & District Collegiate Institute (299 Percy Street, Smiths Falls). “We welcome the community to come out and celebrate with us on that Monday evening”, said Ramsaran, “and on behalf of the United Way Lanark County Board of Directors, I extend an invitation to all community members to attend. We have much to celebrate – in fact 372,820 reasons – and we want to take the time to thank the community for their support!”

For further details, please contact the United Way Office at 613-253-9074, or e-mail info@lanarkunitedway.com.

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