Over The Top

The United Fund of Warren County 2014 Torchlight Campaign has surpassed its goal of $650,000 with $657,688.01 in contributions and pledges.

“I hope every person and business which contributed, in any amount, feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in reaching this goal,” United Fund Director Jim Goodling said on Tuesday, adding the Torchlight Campaign is the largest annual fundraising effort in Warren County. “It is an ambitious goal for Warren County, but one which was met through this county’s amazing generosity.”

The 2014 total was 101 percent of the $650,000 goal and exceeds the 2013 campaign total of $654,079.

Campaign co-chairs Major Ron Starnes of the Salvation Army and Barbara Tubbs said reaching the goal speaks to the generosity of the Warren County community.

Support for the United Fund’s Torchlight Campaign “speaks to the value we place on the services of the 20 United Fund agencies. This is one of those ‘Warren County Proud’ moments,” Tubbs said.

Many agencies supported by the United Fund, including the Salvation Army, rely on the support of the campaign to offer services which they otherwise could not provide, Starnes said.

Some of the agencies “could not survive without the support of United Fund, and others would have to cut back on the work they do. We are all grateful to the community for this assistance,” he said.

The Torchlight Campaign is divided into six divisions, most of which are supported by volunteers. The industry and finance divisions reached 100 percent of their goal; special gifts reached 115 percent of its goal; commercial reached 88 percent of its goal; professional 89 percent; miscellaneous, including governmental, nonprofit agencies and others reached 102 percent; and residential reached 108 percent.

Lincoln Sokolski, president of the United Fund’s board of directors, stressed the importance of volunteers to the campaign. “They make many of the direct contacts throughout the community,” he said. “Without them, we could not reach all of our contributors. They are the backbone of this effort.”

None of the contributions raised through the campaign are used for campaign or administrative expenses because of the endowments created by earlier supporters of the United Fund.

“We are unique among United Way agencies in this regard,” Goodling said. “We guarantee that 100 percent of all donations go to the agencies they are meant to support.”

In all, 20 agencies receive assistance from the United Fund of Warren County and they cover a wide spectrum of services. Forty-six percent of the funds raised go to support children; 19 percent support senior citizens; 17 percent support emergency services; 6 percent support disability services; and 12 percent for family counseling.

Meeting this year’s goal “speaks to the value our community places on the services of the United Fund agencies. They are woven into our collective view of the quality of life here in Warren County,” Goodling said.

Starting as a Community Chest organization in 1924, the United Fund of Warren County has raised millions of dollars to support services for 90 years. Donations to the United Fund are received throughout the year and can be made in person, by mail or through the website at www.unitedfundofwarrencounty.org. More information about the campaign and United Fund can be found on the website, on the agency’s Facebook page, or by calling 726-0292.