With only weeks remaining in 2006 Madison County United Way fund-raising campaign, about $130,000 still is needed to reach this year’s goal.

The annual campaign kicked off in September with a goal of raising $400,000 to support local organizations.

So far, about 68 percent, or about $270,000 of that goal, has been met, said Dr. James Conneely, United Way campaign chair for Madison County.

“We’re a little bit behind where I was hoping we’d be,” he said. “I was hoping to be at about 75 percent of our goal by now.”

“We do have some organizations that have participated before but, are not participating this year,” Conneely said. “We also have some that are participating that have not done so before. Obviously, the economy and the fuel prices affect people’s giving. We’re still very optimistic about making the goal, but we really need people to open up their hearts and pocketbooks this holiday season. We really want to meet the funding requests that come in from the agencies.”

United Way of the Bluegrass helps the people of Madison, Anderson, Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Jessamine, Montgomery, Scott and Woodford counties to identify and prioritize community goals from sheltering displaced families to promoting health and nutrition for seniors.

The organization participates in the following initiatives to try to improve communities:

• Get On Board recruits and trains volunteers on non-profit boards.

• United Way 2-1-1 provides an easy to remember three-digit phone number for non-emergency health and human service information and referrals.

• Success by 6 ensures that young children are born and remain healthy and are ready to successfully enter school by age 6.

• Gift In Kind partners with businesses to provide quality products and services to 501 (c) 3 health and human service agencies located throughout Central Kentucky allowing them to focus their limited resources on accomplishing their mission.

• Volunteer Bluegrass matches Central Kentuckians with non-profit volunteer activities.

• Bluegrass Women United engages women in advocacy and philanthropy to support programs for women and girls.

During the campaign, more than 900 letters have been sent to individuals in the county and a United We Dine program is scheduled for Dec. 21 to help raise funds.

“With the United We Dine program, (participating) restaurants would commit 10 percent of their revenues for the day to the United Way,” Conneely said. “It’s something that has happened in the Lexington area and we’re working to get a number of restaurants here on board.”

The deadline for the campaign usually is Dec. 31.

In 2005, the United Way campaign in Madison County raised more than $347,000 from 2,106 local businesses and individuals. The money was invested in local programs and services, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass, the Daniel Boone Chapter of the American Red Cross, Telford Community Center YMCA and Project Read.

The money raised is distributed through a group of local volunteers on a fund distribution board and 85 percent of the funds from the campaign go toward programs in the community and 15 percent goes toward overhead.

“United Way is very important because it really gives an opportunity to fund agencies in the community,” Conneely said. “The money really goes back into the community and a lot of people are served.”

For more information about the campaign or participating in United We Dine, go to www.uwbg.org or call 859-699-9298.

Bryan Marshall can be reached at bmarshall@richmondregister.com or 624-6691.

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