JUNEAU - United Way of Southeast Alaska is optimistic as campaign numbers begin to roll in. Currently the tally shows the organization received a little more than $51,000 in one-time gifts and payroll deduction pledges from employees of area workplace campaigns, and more than $40,000 in donations from corporations and individuals.
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"With only 24 of almost 100 potential workplaces reporting back, we believe our total workplace campaign numbers will exceed our expectations," said Brenda Hewitt, president of United Way of Southeast Alaska. "That is particularly significant, because it shows the immense community support and how even $5 a pay period makes a big difference in contributing to the health of our community."
Several workplaces have seen generous increases in their employee donations this year. For instance, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union saw a 30 percent increase in its employee donations, and Alaska Marine Lines/Lynden Transport employees in Southeast Alaska contributed more than twice as much as they did in 2006.
Kathleen Gamble, Southeast Alaska highway coordinator for Alaska Marine Lines/Lynden Transport, heads up their internal campaign. Creatively, she took the opportunity to have a United Way staff member and partner agency representative make pancakes for employees as a way to raise awareness of the campaign. Kathleen attributes the increase in donations to the use of real maple syrup.
"You know what they say, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar!" Gamble said.
Individual and corporate gifts are continuing to be solicited and finalized. Although the official campaign dates were Sept. 14 through Nov. 22, campaign activities run through January, and most of the reporting is not finalized until March. Working on an extended timeline has been an increasing trend for the past few years, as many workplaces and corporations are operating on a statewide or national basis.
"The annual United Way campaign has many facets, which provides for the greatest flexibility for our partners and donors," said Larry Harris, this year's campaign chairman. "In my personal experience through utilizing United Way as a year-round tool to give back to my favorite cause or nonprofit, I have the opportunity to give in the most efficient way possible."
Kristin Mahle, campaign director for United Way of Southeast Alaska, is available to provide more information and workplace presentations to help organizations provide this unique tool for their employees. She can be contacted at 463-5530 or at email@example.com.