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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2006
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United Way projects giving won't hit goal

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com 340-2395

With a month left, the 2006 United Way campaign doesn't look like it will make goal.

Pledges turned in so far amount to $1.228 million, said United Way Executive Director George Pollitt. Based on the giving history of the companies left to report, he projects the campaign will fall about $100,000 short of the $2 million goal. That would be about equal with last year's total.

Campaign Chairman Sam Mullinex said the project shortfall appears to be the result of economic fears for some companies and a declining base of volunteers to solicit new employee contribution campaigns.

"I think it's the uncertainty in some of the companies that are restructuring," he said. "I think people are just a little bit leery about what's going to happen to them in the future."

A bigger concern is that the number of campaign volunteers has shrunk to about a third as many as it had three years ago, Mullinex said.

"We just don't have enough people to get out there and talk to the various companies and people," he said.

Volunteers a priority

Getting more volunteers will be a priority before starting next year's campaign, he said.

Pollitt said if the campaign ends with about the same total as last year, United Way's 32 agencies, such as Meals on Wheels and the Boys and Girls Club, will either lose part of their allocations or get level-funded. And level funding is like a cut because it doesn't let the agencies keep up with inflation, he added.

The agencies have had only one increase in recent years.

Mullinex said the campaigners are contacting a few major companies in hopes of getting new employee contribution programs running before this year's campaign concludes at the end of January.

Any companies that would like to start an employee contribution program can call the United Way office at 353-6643.

CORRECTION

This article should have identified the chairman of the United Way campaign as Sam McMullen, store manager of Publix in Decatur.

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