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United Way goal within reach

WORTHINGTON -- It will take just a bit more stretching to reach the newly raised goal of the United Way of Nobles County (UWNC), but president Jeff Johnson is confident it can be done with some help.

"We have just a couple thousand dollars to go," he said.

The UWNC upped their yearly goal from $140,000 to $150,000 for the 2011-2012 campaign -- an increase made, Johnson said, because there was more need among the agencies the United Way serves.

"We're really close to making that goal," he stated. "We're really close to getting it all wrapped up. Of course, more is always better."

The group's main fundraiser each year -- the one that is most visible, Johnson said -- is its telethon, which brought in approximately $9,000 in November. The majority of the ongoing fundraising comes from packets of information sent to area businesses and the organizations the United Way supports.

"There are so many worthy organizations we give to," Johnson explained.

"This year there are 24 organizations, all local," Johnson said. "That money stays right here in Nobles County, benefitting the people of our county."

Administrative costs are very low because the board consists of all volunteers. New organizations apply for funding each year, and the board members are careful and diligent in their efforts to decide which causes to fund.

"There are so many great organizations we serve," Johnson said.

Catholic Charities, the Circle Mentors program, area food pantries, the Southwest Crisis Center, Habitat for Humanity, RSVP, the YMCA and Southwest Minnesota Opportunity Council are just a few of the organizations the United Way helps fund each year. Each one, Johnson said, puts the money to good use.

"Take, for instance, the Red Cross," Johnson said. "Somebody might say that they will never use these other organizations, but the things the Red Cross does affect everyone. All it would take is one natural disaster. Keeping them funded assures that they can help us when we need them."

The easiest way to donate to the UWNC is to send a check made out to the United Way to the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce at 1121 Third Ave., Worthington 56187.

"We're so close," Johnson stated. "I'd hate to not go over the top."

Daily Globe Reporter Justine Wettschreck can be reached at 376-7322.