In a year with economic challenges for both employers and employees as the community continued to recover from the Great Recession, and the added burden of a “500-year” flood in September in much of the community, United Way of Broome County has raised $3,521,578 in its annual fund drive and an additional $901,980 which was donated directly for local flood relief—a total of $4,423,558.
Alan Hertel, Excutive Director of United Way of Broome County, said, “Along with running our Annual Campaign, we were asked by Broome County to take a leading role in handling donations for flood relief and recovery. We gladly agreed to do this, so we were actually administering two fund-raising initiatives at once.
Hertel also mentioned some of the other activities United Way is currently involved with to create a positive impact on people’s lives in the Broome County community.
- Regional Volunteer Center – under contract supervising efforts to increase the number of volunteers in an eight-county area in partnership with the Institute for Human Services in Bath, New York. United Way obtained a $50,000 grant to fund a three year effort with the goal of recruiting 10,000 volunteers per year.
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) – in partnership with the Broome County Department of Social Services and the Broome-Tioga CA$H Coalition offering free New York State and federal income tax preparation to households which had incomes as high as $50,000 last year. This program of the Internal Revenue Service was designed to help more taxpayers learn about all of the tax credits they have earned.
- Building Brighter Futures for Broome – the coordinator of this coalition of 30 community agencies, which are helping young children to be ready to learn, is now housed at United Way.
- 2-1-1 information and referral call center – (formerly known at First Call for Help) – this center was expanded into a 2-1-1 regional center last February. It registered more than 53,000 contacts in 2011 and more than 12,000 flood-related contacts.
- Let’s Read – began this early childhood reading initiative as part of the annual Day of Caring (which was not held in 2011 because of the flood). Thousands of books have been donated to this effort and Let’s Read sites are currently operating or soon will be at six locations in our community.
Hertel emphasized that the Broome County community has been very generous in supporting both the United Way Annual Campaign and providing donations to help those impacted by the flood.
Donations from the 2011 Campaign will go to programs at partner agencies, other area not-for-profit organizations, and direct services provided by United Way this year. The specific amounts going to each program will be announced later.
Although the 2011 Campaign has ended, gifts can still be made to the United Way of Broome County Annual Campaign or sent to United Way to assist flood victims. Contributions can be mailed to United Way of Broome County, P.O. Box 550, Binghamton, NY 13902-0550 or can be donated online at www.unitedwaybroome.org. It is important to indicate “flood relief Sept. 2011” on any donation intended to help flood victims.