ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-St. Louisans are again being challenged to show how much they care about their neighbors.
After raising just over $71 million dollars last year, the United Way of St. Louis has set the goal for its 2012 fundraising campaign at $72 million.
Campaign Chair Greg Boyce says that while the goal is ambitious, it is reachable even in these tough economic times, “One out of three folks in the region are helped or touched by a United Way agency and for the other two out of three it’s, ‘what more can we do to help?’.”
Boyce says the board sets the goal after talking with its corporate supporters, who he says are showing more economic ‘vitality’ they they’ve seen in recent years, “There hasn’t been a lot of large restructuring. There’s actually a little lower unemployment than there was last year and there’s been an enthusiasm around the United Way campaign that’s been built over the last couple of years.”
He says the key to reaching the goal is for individuals and corporations who can afford to give, to give more, “There’s still a lot of capacity for increased participation. We’ve got participation rates from 20 percent with enterprises all the way up to in some cases 100 percent. The more we can add employees to that base, and then bump them up, we will have a successful campaign.”
Local United Way President and CEO Gary Dollar says St. Louisans have a history of giving. He says that while St. Louis is the country’s 19th largest metropolitan region, the United Way campaign is the nation’s 5th largest, “I call it midwestern values, I’m not sure what else to call it. It’s just a generous caring heart here that says, ‘I’m responsible for my community. I want to make a difference. When someone’s in need I want to respond.'”
Boyce says, “We just ask everyone to look at the need in the community, what these agencies do, and then reflect on their own situation and if they can give more that’s what we ask them to do.”