County United Ways Kick Off Fundraising Campaigns

The United Ways of Chautauqua County kicked off their respective annual fundraising campaigns with an joint virtual campaign kickoff via Facebook Live.

Community, business, education and government partners joined executive directors Amy Rohler of the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County and Adam Dolce of the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County on a Zoom Call which was live-streamed as they briefly shared the value of United Way in the community, and in particular, their work in resourcing and strengthening the non-profit sector during COVID-19.

“Many vulnerable families in our community have been supported by these programs, and continue to find support,” said Rohler, “and we are going to need the community to come together as we rebuild and recover from this crisis.”

The theme for both campaigns is “United We Rise.” The key component of the virtual kickoff was a video they shared, in which different organizations and businesses across Chautauqua County virtually passed a ‘United We Rise” sign to each other, often in amusing and energetic ways, engaging their employees in the fun.

The organizations that participated in the video included: Allied Alarm Services, Blackstone Advanced Technologies, Bush Industries, the Boys & Girls Club of both Southern and Northern Chautauqua County, Cattoos, Chautauqua Blind Association, Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel, Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center, Chautauqua Lake Central Schools, Chautauqua Striders, Child Advocacy Program, Lakeshore Savings Bank, M&T Bank, Mental Health Association, the National Comedy Center, Prevention Works, the Relief Zone, the Resource Center, SUNY Fredonia, Weber-Knapp, Wegmans, YMCA, and YWCA. Every site had several of the 28 campaign chairs for United Way of Southern Chautauqua County’s campaign in their videos, pictured in blue, long sleeved United Way t-shirts. In addition to the video, the city of Dunkirk and the city of Jamestown both declared September 16, 2020, to be LIVE UNITED DAY – and representatives from the mayors’ offices shared their official proclamations on the Facebook Live event, proclaiming the benefits and valuable services to seniors, families and youth throughout Chautauqua County.

County Executive PJ Wendel also expressed his appreciation and support for the joint efforts and work of United Way. More than 50 people participated in the Zoom Call and countless viewers tuned in to watch the virtual kickoff, many sharing comments of encouragement and support.

“We typically do an event with food and a speaker, involving our community partners,” said Dolce, “clearly that wasn’t going to be possible this year, so we wanted to find a way for the community to get involved and also feel like we are all connected.”

More information about both United Ways can be found on their websites and through Facebook, including the programs they fund and the positive impact they have in the community. Last year, United Way programs made a positive impact more than 23,000 times. One hundred percent of all donations remain in Chautauqua County.

“There’s been a lot of changes this year,” Rohler observed, “but not everything has changed. People still need our help. Problems still need to get solved. Our community still has volunteers willing to step up when the need is there. That hasn’t changed.”


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