United Way sets goal for 2016 campaign

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 October 2015 at 12:00 am

Fundraising target – $279,104.31 – reflects major routes and connections in community

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – United Way of Orleans County wants to emphasis community connections in the 2016 fund-raising campaign. The organization, to emphasize that theme, picked three major state routes – 279, 104 and 31 – in the county for the campaign goal.

On Thursday evening, honorary campaign chairman Charlie Nesbitt and United Way executive director Marsha Rivers unveiled the campaign goal during a reception at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery. The $279,104.31 not only incorporates the major thoroughfares in the county, but those numbers could serve as donation targets for community members.

In the 2015 campaign, United Way also used “104” to motivate donors. That number represents a $2 donation 52 weeks a year. Rivers urged some donors to try to reach $279 in giving to the United Way for the year. Or perhaps first-time donors might want to begin supporting United Way at the $31 level.

The campaign raises funds for 19 partner agencies, as well as many more programs designated by donors.

Charlie Nesbitt, the honorary campaign chairman, addresses a group of agency leaders and United Way supporters during a campaign kickoff on Thursday evening.

“Thank you to the agencies for dedicating some part of your life to helping your neighbors,” Nesbitt, the former state assemblyman, said during the campaign kickoff.

The Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern is one of the agencies that benefits from the United Way campaign. The United Way funding is used for the Just Friends mentoring program and also for crisis services, said Jacki Mowers-Sciarabba, the client advocate in Orleans County and Just Friends coordinator for the agency.

“With more money we could help more families keep the heat on during the winter,” she said. “These are senior citizens, children and families.”

The Cornell Cooperative Extension uses United Way funds for a “Choose Health” program, where a staff member teaches children about making good choices and healthy living. That can include reading labels on food packages and portion control while eating.

Jessica Downey, as assistant vice president at Claims Recovery Financial Services in Albion, is president of the United Way board. She said United Way has an impact throughout the county, supporting agencies that work with people of all ages.

“I love how close-knit the community is,” Downey said. “We’re loyal to each other and help each other out.”

The United Way board of directors is pictured at Thursday’s kickoff. The group includes, front row, from left: Jessica Downey, Assistant VP for CRFS; Executive Director Marsha Rivers; Melinda Maedl, Business Community Liaison for Iroquois Job Corps; Carol D’Agostino, Principal for Kendall Junior-Senior High School; and Virginia Kropf, Reporter for The Daily News.

Back row: Jackie Gardner, VP at Claims Recovery Financial Services; Patrick Weissend, Assistant VP & Branch Manager for Tompkins Bank of Castile in Medina; Bill Hungerford, President of Takeform Architectural Graphics; Jerome Pawlak, Owner of Pawlak’s Save-A-Lot; Jason Smith, Superintendent of Lyndonville Central School; and Dave Cook, Territory Manager for Innovative Solutions.