In keeping with its "Live United" theme, The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County kicked off its 2016 annual campaign with a focus on engaging more community members and challenging them to "Live United" as a way to reach an ambitious, "aspirational" goal of $15 million.
The campaign was announced at the Family Justice Center's new office, also an UWBEC-funded program, on Main Street in Buffalo. The campaign runs through March 2017.
The United Way will celebrate its centennial year in 2017, and the visionary goal was cited as a means to inspire more area residents to consider giving and to offer more options for contributing beyond traditional workplace campaigns.
Business leaders, board members and supporters helped to kick off the 2016 United Way fundraising campaign. 2016 Campaign Chairperson Paulette Crooke, and board Chairperson Dennis Elsenbeck of National Grid, highlighted the organization's continued impact and importance in the Western New York community. In addition, Michael Weiner, president and CEO of United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, thanked supporters and volunteers and outlined the integral role the United Way plays in supporting and uplifting the community. Weiner noted 10,000 new donors, giving just $1 a week, would help the organization push past its 2015 results of just over $14.5 million to reach the $15 million mark.
Weiner said, "We recognize this goal is very ambitious. However, as we look forward to our next 100 years, we thought it appropriate to challenge ourselves and to encourage our community to continue to expand their reputation as generous and supportive, as well as to strive to make an immense impact this year. Our community demonstrates each year that there is an understanding that helping our neighbors benefits our entire region and we are encouraging each and every Western New Yorker to 'Live United.' "
This new campaign strategy is aligned with the organization's five-year strategic plan that outlines initiatives to broaden current revenue streams to include more donors from all sectors of the community including the workplace.
The proceeds of the campaign will address the community's highest priority needs in education, financial stability and health and wellness through program funding as well as key collaborations and initiatives.
Last year, the campaign raised $14.5 million, which marked the sixth consecutive year of increasing campaign results. Successful campaigns have been attributed to an increase in companies participating in workplace campaigns, as well as checkout scanning programs at area retailers including Wegmans, Tops, University at Buffalo and NOCO, and specialty fundraisers such as the annual "Spring It On" fundraiser.
This year, the United Way will also participate in "NY Gives Day" which will occur on "Giving Tuesday," a nationwide fundraising effort held after Thanksgiving to complement Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the annual holiday shopping season begins.
About the United Way
The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County brings people, organizations, and resources together to improve community well-being. Through program funding, community collaborations and strategic initiatives in the areas of education, financial stability, and health and wellness, United Way helps children reach their full potential, adults and families achieve financial stability, and people of all ages achieve and maintain physical, social and emotional health. For more information, visit www.uwbec.org.