United Way asks for fundraising help, anonymous donor answers

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JANESVILLE - An anonymous donor has offered the United Way United Way Blackhawk Region a $52,000 match opportunity after the organization announced an estimated fundraising shortfall on Wednesday.

United Way's 2018-2019 Community Campaign Goal of $2.6 million was projected to be 4 percent short.

After United Way announced this projected shortage, United Way Blackhawk Region President and CEO Mary Fanning-Penny said the anonymous donor came forward. The donor's only stipulation is that the community raise the remaining $52,000 by Feb. 15.

In total, campaign co-champion Regina Dunkin said before the match opportunity the organization needed to raise an additional $104,000 to reach the $2.6 million goal.

"We're thrilled to have this generous donor step forward with this match challenge," Fanning-Penny said.

The Feb. 15 deadline was made by United Way, so the donations can be included with the campaign total to be announced at the annual Live United Celebration on March 20 at the Pontiac Convention Center in Janesville.

"We only have a short time to reach our goal for this campaign, and we are very hopeful that the generosity of individuals in Rock and northern Winnebago counties will help us," Dunkin said.

Fanning-Penny said the projected goal shortfall is due in part to a few local companies transitioning through a change in ownership, retail closures and other decreases. She said if there's a transition from local to non-local ownership, companies may be less willing to engage with the local community.

Fanning-Penny said United Way has reached its fundraising goal the last two years, so this is the first recent time the organization has had to make a final push.

She said employee workplace campaigns mostly have wrapped up, with the top campaigns already reporting.

"While there are 60 workplace campaigns that reported increase pledges and our volunteer-driven Campaign Cabinet has successfully cultivated new company campaigns, our growth does not outpace the losses," Fanning-Penny said.

She said contributing to United Way means supporting 60 human services programs at 28 nonprofit agencies in Rock County and northern Winnebago County tackling hunger, homelessness, addiction, family violence and more.

"We collaborate with the best program partners to create change and deliver results, but to do that we need to achieve the goal," Fanning-Penny said. "We are relying upon the caring people of the Blackhawk Region to respond."

Dunkin said any amount is beneficial to United Way.

Donations to the United Way Community Campaign may be made online at LiveUnitedBR.org/Give or can be mailed to the United Way Blackhawk Region at 205 N. Main St., Suite 101, Janesville, WI 53545. Checks should be made payable to United Way Blackhawk Region.

Fanning-Penny thanks all of the corporate and individual sponsors who have donated thus far.

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