Area's United Way agency just shy of fund-raising goal

Published: Saturday, March 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 1, 2003 at 12:37 a.m.

United Way of Alachua County fell just short of its fund-raising goal of $3 million in 2002, a spokesman said Friday.

Nathan Trenteseaux, communications director for the charity, said the 2002 revenue totaled about $2.97 million. The figures were announced at a wrap-up meeting held last week, he said.

But coming so close was encouraging, considering the challenges charities are facing nationwide, said Jim Doughton, publisher of The Gainesville Sun, who served as United Way of Alachua County fund-raising chairman for 2002.

"This was a difficult year around the country for charitable organizations," Doughton said. "Our campaign did very well in light of that. Really, when you get within 1 percent of your goal, you're doing well."

Doughton said the overriding challenge to reaching the goal was the fact that the economy was not as robust as it has been in recent years.

"That makes people more concerned about their job security," he said. "We had a lot of support in the community despite the difficult economic environment. . . . The campaign workers worked very hard."

The reasons for not quite reaching the goal were varied, Trenteseaux said.

"A lot of companies have downsized," he said. "For example, BellSouth, which has had a lot of layoffs in recent months, only brought in $19,000 this year, compared to $30,000 last year."

He said the possibility of war with Iraq also may have affected the organization's fund-raising efforts.

The organization fell short in 2001 by about the same amount, bringing in $2.98 million, he said.

"Of course, in 2001 the reasons we didn't make the goal were directly related to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11," Trenteseaux said.

The new chairman for the year 2003 is Tom Mallini, CEO of M&S Bank.

Trenteseaux said he is optimistic about making the goal in the coming year.

United Way is a local charitable organization providing resources to local health and human service agencies. All policies, procedures and decisions are determined by local volunteers.

United Way of Alachua County was established in 1957. The charity supports a wide variety of organizations including the Girl Scouts, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, the American Red Cross, Corner Drug Store, ElderCare and St. Francis House.

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