The goal for the Pacesetter Campaign has been set at $13 million in hopes of getting a head start on the United Way’s annual fundraising drive that will start in September.
Gordon Martin, Alabama Power senior vice-president, is serving as the 2012 campaign chairman. Martin told members of the Rotary Club of Jasper the number of people requesting United Way services continues to rise.
“Our business is booming,” he said. “The needs are great. Added stress always seems to hit the most vulnerable.”
The Pacesetter Campaign will run for 13 weeks, and 57 companies in five counties will participate. Martin said Drummond Company, First Bank of Jasper and the Arc of Walker County are among the Jasper-area groups participating as pacesetters.
Martin said more than 17,000 Walker County residents have been helped by United Way partners since 2009.
Local groups receiving United Way funding include the Arc of Walker County, American Red Cross of Walker County, the Black Warrior Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Walker County Salvation Army, Daybreak and Beacon House.
There are a total of 10 agencies located in Walker County that are helped by United Way funding, and 20 more agencies outside the county serve county residents.
“I enjoy hearing the stories of people whose lives have been changed by the United Way and its partners,” Martin said.
The United Way of Central Alabama has also provided assistance to the Walker County Long Term Recovery Committee to help in the rebuilding process after the tornadoes of April 27, 2011.
“We are thankful for the United Way,” said Paul Kennedy, a member of the Walker County LTRC. “Without their financial and emotional support, we would not be where we are at now.”
While an overall fundraising goal has not been set for 2012, Martin said the goal would be above $37 million, which was raised in 2011. The group has met its fundraising goal each year since World War II, and despite economic concerns, Martin said he expects that streak to continue.
“We are asking people to dig a little deeper,” Martin said. “People know the needs are great, and that makes people want to give more than ever.”