January 13, 2010 9:19:00 AM
Jason Browne - [email protected]
An anonymous donation of $25,000 has the United Way of Lowndes County poised to reach its campaign goal.
With the huge boost, which came from a single donor, the agency has raised 96 percent of its 2009-10 goal. According to Jan Ballard, executive director of the United Way, the amount raised since September sits at $574,265. The goal is $600,000.
Dennis Erby, board president for the local United Way, said the anonymous donor is a friend and local businessman who requested his name be withheld.
"He and I had a conversation about what''s going on, and he expressed his desire to do something in the community more than what he''s done in the past," said Erby. "I believe that it gives credence to the fact that there are people in our community that believe in the fiduciary responsibility the United Way has taken on."
Ballard expects campaigns among Columbus city employees and Lowndes County employees, to raise another $12,000. Those campaigns have concluded and the final tallies are being calculated.
A third campaign is in the works at a local industry.
If United Way reaches its campaign goal this year, it will be the first time since 2000 the agency has hit its mark. The goal was $550,000 in 2000 and was increased to $600,000 the following year based on economic indicators.
Last year, the United Way of Lowndes County celebrated its 55h birthday, and its campaign concluded with $504,000 raised.
The money being raised through these campaigns and donations is essential, Ballard said.
"It''s especially important this year because our agencies continue to serve higher numbers than in previous years. It''s not too late for businesses and residents to make their donations before the allocations budget is finalized in a few weeks," said Ballard.
The United Way funds 18 non-profit agencies which serve Lowndes County including The American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, 4-H Club, the Greater Columbus Learning Center and The Salvation Army.
It has also put nearly $150,000 in reserve funds into the community in recent years to deal with weather-related disasters.