United Way seeks support in fundraising push for 16 agencies

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 28 September 2022 at 2:08 pm

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Dean Bellack, director of United Way of Orleans County, points to the sign at the corner of Maple Ridge Road and South Main Street in Medina, showing United Way is at 70 percent of its fundraising goal for 2022.

The year may be winding down, but at United Way of Orleans County, things are ramping up.

The organization is planning for its biggest event of the year, a gala fundraiser Oct. 9 at White Birch Golf Course in Lyndonville, starring Las Vegas entertainer Jimmy Mazz. Click here for more information on tickets. The evening will feature a gourmet meal, raffles and silent auction.

Also, as the year ends, so does United Way’s annual campaign to raise funds which allow the agency to help 16 agencies in Orleans County which serve every segment of the population, from infants to senior citizens, the poor and the handicapped. Currently, United Way is at 70 percent of its fundraising goal, and helping these agencies depends solely on our reaching our goal, said director Dean Bellack of Medina.

Bellack and United Way are determined to turn around statistics which show the per capita revenue for United Way of Buffalo and Erie County is $24.12, while Orleans County’s per capita revenue is $3.62.

“We can’t have the impact we need to have until we have resources comparable to urban United Way operations,” Bellack stated in a letter earlier this year to community leaders.

Every donation has an impact, Bellack said. Every dollar stays in Orleans County and directly benefits United Way’s partner agencies. No gift is too small to help.

Donations can be made online. Click here for more information.

Some of the agencies  United Way funds are 2-1-1 WNY, 4-H Youth (Cornell Cooperative Extension), GLOW Arc (Camp Rainbow and Meals on Wheels), Boy Scouts, Care Net Center of Greater Orleans, Christ Church Community Kitchen, GCASA, Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern, Hands 4 Hope, Kendall Community Food Cupboard, Orleans County Accredited Literacy Services (OCALS), Orleans County YMCA, P’raising Kids Daycare, Project Stork, Supportive Care of Orleans Grief Support Group and Town of Yates Recreation Program.

United Way is also inviting currently unfunded 501c3 agencies to apply for funding by logging on to https://orleansunitedway.org/grant-application/.  Bellack said making out an application does not guarantee funding, but it is the first step to take for assistance, if United Way funds are available.

“We wish to make sure those who need help have the opportunity to get it,” Bellack said. “The United Way of Orleans County is here for our total community benefit. The dollars we receive stay in Orleans County and benefit our community in many ways.”

In addition to sponsoring fundraisers and seeking donations, United Way of Orleans County has made a major impact to the county by initiating efforts to hire a grant writer. In 2021, Nyla Gaylord, who was then working for Ministry of Concern, on her own time wrote a grant, which United Way received for $450,000 to hire a grant writer and part-time development professional for United Way for five years.

“In just over a year, this investment has resulted in nearly $700,000 in direct benefits to Orleans County residents and fostered new collaborations between non-profits, the business community and local government,” Bellack said.

In his short time as grant writer, Matt Holland has also got approval for $600,000 in grants which will be announced within the next week or so. It is pertinent to note that Holland’s services are free to any non-profit in Orleans County.

“It is important to note that the United Way helps partner agencies in two ways, through allocating donated dollars and by helping organizations obtain funding from other sources,” Bellack said.

It should also be clarified that United Way must raise the funds it allocates, as grant money can only be used for the purchase for which it was approved. That is why it is so important for the community to continue to donate.