United Way funding falls short of

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 6, 2001


By Beth Lakey

Staff Writer

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Representatives of the Pike County United Way agencies met Thursday afternoon to discuss how they can help raise more money.

Operating on a $100,000 budget, the Pike County United Way Board recently had to prorate funding to its 15 agencies by 50 percent because fund-raising efforts were not as successful this year.

"Instead of cutting, we were hoping we could raise $130,000, but we weren’t able to," said Jane Thrash, secretary/bookkeeper for the United Way.

Last year, about $97,000 was raised and, this year, the amount pledged was only $76,000.

But, this situation is not new to the local United Way, which has been operating in proration since 1996, Thrash said.

As a former educator and the current community coordinator for the American Red Cross, Thrash understands how much the United Way agencies assist the community.

But, she said, citizens of Pike County seem apathetic.

"The don’t realize how much these agencies do until they need the resources," Thrash said.

Fund-raising efforts for other causes, such as the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and March of Dimes, appear to have hurt the United Way.

Thrash said those are all very worthy causes, but so are those funded by the United Way.

In Pike County, the United Way provides funding to Alabama Easter Seals Society, American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, East Central Mental Health-Mental Retardation, Girl Scouts, Pike County 4-H Clubs, RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), the House of Ruth, Pike County Christmas Program, Troy Charity League, Salvation Army, Pike County YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pike County, Colley Senior Complex and the Pike County Firefighters Association.

"We’re the pillars," Thrash said of the agencies that offer assistance in bad times and good. "We as agencies, need to make Pike County aware of what we do.

"We also need to make people realize they are investing in the future by becoming a part of the Pike County United Way," she said of the fact all the money raised here, stays in Pike County.

In an effort to get out the word about all the agencies’ programs and services, an event is being planned for September, which is the time for kicking off the annual fund-raising campaign.