“You all have something to be proud of, and we are blessed to be part of it all and call Bradford our home.” Those are the closing sentiments from 2016 campaign co-chairs Andy and Heather Bell, who announced Thursday that the “Color Our World A Better Place” appeal surpassed its $340,000 goal, raising just over $344,000 for the local community. “Our sincere gratitude goes out to every single individual, family, workplace, private business, and corporation that stepped up, not only to help us reach our campaign goal, but to surpass it,” said Andy Bell. Heather Bell echoed the sentiments of pride, adding, “someone once told me, ‘don’t wait until you’ve reached a goal to be proud, instead be proud of every step you take toward reaching that goal’. Andy and I truly couldn’t have been more proud of the people in our community every single day of this campaign, brining the United Way one step closer to being able to make a difference in the lives of those affected right here in Bradford.” With money raised during this most recent endeavor, the local United Way office will – on a monthly basis - be able to fund 14 local organizations, supporting 21 programs and services, who applied for funding from the RFP process in the fall of 2016. Those agencies include: A Partnership in Housing, Inc., Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services; CARE for Children; CASA of McKean County; Catholic Charities; Destinations Bradford; Evergreen Elm; Futures Rehabilitation Center; Greater Bradford Senior Activity Center; Growing With Grace Christian Preschool; McKean/Potter Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross; The Family Center – Bradford; YMCA of the Twin Tiers – Bradford Branch; YWCA Bradford. Additionally, there will be funding available to organizations through quarterly allocations from the Community Impact and Community Innovations streams. Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis said there were many highlights to the campaign, especially the number of new donors. “Nearly $4,000 was contributed by 29 new or renewed donors, and this is only what could be tracked. I know there certainly many more from workplace campaigns that may not get the recognition that they deserve.” Davis also said she was very appreciative of the work of the Bell family. “We’ve heard so many times that the stories that Andy and Heather were able to share were so impactful, and people related to the emotion they displayed while speaking throughout the campaign. “As local educators, they see first-hand the impact that the programs and services offered locally really do make. But, as generous, committed community members, they’ve made the choice to be part of the change, and for that I’m truly grateful,” said Davis. On behalf of the United Way’s Board of Directors, secretary Jodie Wagner offered appreciation to all those who were part of the 2016 campaign. “This validates the generosity and community spirit that Bradford continues to have. We are proud to support many local non-profits on valuable services that they offer to our community, and it is with the support of all of you that we are able to do this.” For more information on the local United Way, contact the office or visit www.uwbanews.org.