Bradford Campaign Ends $3,200 Short of Goal

“Your contributions are valued and greatly needed to help fund programs in our area!”

Those are the closing sentiments United Way of the Bradford Area’s Board Secretary, Jodie Wagner, who – along with her fellow Board Members – served as co-chair of the 2017 campaign.  Officials announced Thursday at the first Report to the Community that the appeal closed having raised $336,800, just $3,200 short of the goal.

At the event, Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis highlighted many positives that came from the four-month fundraising process, including the number of donors who varied up, meaning they were existing contributors who increased their gift, or they were contributors who did not give in 2016.

“We had 46 contributing entities (totaling just over $12,000 in gifts) in 2017 that were not factored in 2016,” said Davis.  “We also had 55 donors who increased their contribution from the year prior, totaling over $19,000.

“We are excited to build upon these numbers as we look towards the 2018 appeal.  However, we also recognize that with the ups, there are some downs.  We saw several contributing entities either slightly decrease their gift from the previous year, or unfortunately not give at all, which essentially negated the increases that we saw,” Davis explained.  “We will spend the next few months analyzing our data to determine the best ways to not only retain the relationships we’ve established or built upon this year, but also developing new recruitment tactics.”

Karen Costello-Pecht, board vice president, said that while the local organization recognizes the financial hardships and difficult times that are present in our local area, everyone on the board remains grateful to those who are able to contribute and help the United Way to continue its mission.

The Report to the Community also featured an update on the McKean County 2-1-1 system, as well as recognition of the employee workplace campaigns who experienced 100% participation for the 2017 campaign.

Costello-Pecht said she was very thankful to each employee for continuing their generosity, but also “to the managers and campaign coordinators who believe so strongly in the United Way’s mission, and promote its purpose positively among the workforce.”  She and Lauren Bly, Board Treasurer acknowledged the following as the 2017 100% participants:  Bradford City Fire Department; Bradford OECD; Bradford Sanitary Authority; Bradford Water Authority; CARE for Children; Hamlin Bank-Bradford; and the YWCA Bradford.

Wagner also stressed that, while the campaign fell ever-so-slightly short of goal, the local United Way does not anticipate any reduced funding to any of the funded agencies.

“Like Jodie said, your dollars matter,” said Costello-Pecht.  “There are so many important programs and services that continue to benefit from the generosity of our donors, and we are so very thankful that we can continue to make an impact on our family, friends and neighbors because of your kindness.”

With money raised during this most recent endeavor, the local United Way office will – on a monthly basis – be able to fund 16 local organizations, supporting 24 programs and services, who applied for funding from the RFP process in the fall of 2017. Those agencies include:  A Partnership in Housing, Inc., Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services; BRMC’s Meals on Wheels; 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; The Salvation Army; 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.  The first quarter Community Innovations recipients were Bradford Ecumenical Home, Inc.’s Silver Strengthening program and McKean County Arts Council’s community outreach programs.  Community Impact recipients included CARE for Children-Pediatric Therapy and Early Learning Professional Training; Dickinson Center-Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program ; Evergreen Elm-Therapeutic Swimming Program; McKean County Historical Society – general programming; and McKean County Special Olympics- Aquatics program.

While this was the first Report to the Community hosted by the United Way, officials are planning this to be an annual event.

United Way Falling Short of Goal, with Friday deadline

One woman was able to leave an abusive relationship through the courage she found while living at the YWCA Bradford.

The YW, as well as dozens other nonprofit agencies in the county, are able to operate and help people in need, in large part, thanks to the funding received from the United Way of the Bradford Area.

Unfortunately, the United Way in Bradford is currently short of the $340,000 goal that it hoped to reach by Friday, said Mandi Wilton Davis, executive director.  Davis said the agency is making its final appeal to the community to raise an additional $30,000 in order to reach its goal.

“We have some significant outstanding (donations) we are expecting to come in, but they haven’t yet arrived,” Davis said Wednesday.  “We wanted to remind everyone how imperative the United Way is in the community and how imperative reaching that goal is.

“Obviously, this is for the agencies that are relying on funding to maintain their services,” she noted.  “We always say that if you find someone who has not been impacted by a United Way-funded agency, you’re almost in a minority.  I think we can all share stories on how we’ve been directly impacted by one of these programs or services.”

Davis said the United Way has been in existence in Bradford since 1925 and has had the generous support of the community since then.  “For us to be able to say that in this community we can consistently raise well over $300,000 a year is a big accomplishment,” Davis said of yearly solicitation of funds held between August 15 and December 15.  She said all funds are expected to be raised at the end of the business day January 5.  If designated funding for the 2017 campaign is received after that date, it will be accepted.

On a related note, Davis said the agency also manages separate, independent campaigns for the Smethport Campaign for United Way which has a goal of raising $17,000, and the Port Allegany Campaign for United Way, which has a goal of raising $15,000.

Several recipient agencies provided stories on how United Way funds have helped the children and adults they serve.  An administrator from the YW had this to say:

“If I could broadcast the experience of watching someone go from despair to excitement, accomplish, hope – it really is a great gift to be able to do what I do.  I wish that all the people who contribute to the United Way and your board could see just a snapshot, because then they’d really know what (the agencies) do with every dollar they give.”

A single father in the YW’s homeless shelter last year, which is also helped through United Way funding, said the shelter has empowered him to “become more self-sufficient, make a better life for myself, fell like somebody cared, feel motivated to try harder, and find stable housing for me and my girls.”

An administrator at the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program of McKean County said the agency served 38 children in 2017 through 23 active volunteers.  Of those, two children were reunified with their respective mothers, one child was adopted and one child entered into guardianship.  

“Notably, we have a 12 year-old child served by CASA who is scheduled to be adopted and was able to trick-or-treat for the first time ever in 2017,” the administrator said.

Brent Raabe, executive director at the Bradford Family YMCA, also thanked the United Way for its generosity.  

“The funding that comes form the efforts through the United Way annual campaign directly support and sustain many programs and services here at the Y that truly impact so many members of our community,” Raabe said.  The funding support programs that include the Sixth Grade initiative, which provides that school group with a free YMCA membership and all its amenities.

“We cannot thank the United Way enough for all they do for our community and the Bradford YMCA,” Raabe said.

To provide a donation to the United Way, visit their website or call 368-6181.  Checks, cash or credit cards are acceptable, as well as pledges that can be billed for payments in the 2018 calendar year.