Better Together

United Way Officially Kicks Off 2023 Campaign

United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Board President Christine Tarbrake spoke during the Campaign Kickoff event. The theme for this year’s campaign is “Better Together: Because of United Way.”

The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County has kicked off its annual fundraising campaign with the theme of “Better Together: Because of United Way.”

In 2022 the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County exceeded its campaign goal of $1.31 million dollars, coming in at just more than $1.4 million — a dollar amount the United Way had not reached since its 2002 campaign.

For 2023, Amy Rohler, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County executive director, and campaign co-chairs Rex and Michelle “Micki” McCray have set $1.4 million as the campaign goal.

“I’m convinced that our community will again step up with their generous support of this year’s fundraising campaign,” Rohler said.

The campaign kickoff on Thursday featured comments from Rohler and the McCrays as well as Christine Tarbrake, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County board president, and Barrie Yochim, Jamestown Meals on Wheels executive director. During her comments, Micki McCray spoke about the $1.4 million goal and how wonderful it is that each year the community continues to meet and exceed the incremental increase in the goal set by United Way.

United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Executive Director Amy Rohler, at right, announced the nonprofit’s goal of $1.4 million for its 2023 fundraising campaign during a kickoff event held Thursday at Allied Alarm Services in Falconer. Also pictured are 2023 Campaign Co-Chairs Rex McCray, left, and Michelle “Micki” McCray, center.

In addition to raising donations during the 2023 campaign, Rohler told those at the kickoff that there is an additional goal of education this year and a focus on increased participation.

“There are a lot of people in this county who not only don’t donate to United Way, but actually don’t know what United Way is, for whatever reason,” Rohler said. “So part of our strategy this year is how education can lead to participation. When you watch our campaign video, you’ll hear Becky, someone who has been served by programs funded by United Way, say that ‘If everybody gave a little, we’d have a lot.’ And we really believe that.”

Giving to United Way of Southern Chautauqua County can be done in many ways, Tarbrake told the crowd – from traditional charitable gifts and workplace payroll pledges to legacy planned giving and also volunteering.

“United Way is open to everyone,” Tarbrake said. “It’s open to someone who makes a one-time donation, it’s open to the people who give a dollar a week and it’s open to those who give at a Leadership level. What’s really important though is that everyone participate, because together, collectively, we can make a really, really big impact. We’re better together.”

In attendance at the kickoff were representatives from several of the community agencies which United Way of Southern Chautauqua County funds with the donations raised during its fundraising campaign each year. Local businesses and community agencies such as Bush Industries, Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union, Northwest Bank, M&T Bank, and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation also attended the cookout at Allied Alarm Services to support United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.

To the 29 partner agencies who facilitate the 42 programs which United Way of Southern Chautauqua County funds, Rholer explained how meeting the stretch goal of $1.4 million is so important in order to continue addressing the increasing needs of the community.

“As we know and as I’m sure all of you who work in the nonprofit sector know, it is not getting cheaper to serve our community,” Rohler said. “It is not getting less expensive to do important community work, so the need continues to be there. These programs are incredibly important and we want to call attention to how important they are in the community, and that’s why we make mention of your organizations when we do campaign presentations – to help people understand the impact that the 42 programs we fund have in this community.”

The kickoff event featured the premiere of the 2023 Campaign video, which can be found on the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County’s YouTube channel. The video highlights the personal stories of three local individuals who have each been served by programs funded by United Way, and who have in turn given back to the community.

One hundred percent of all donations made to United Way remain in Chautauqua County. To learn more text “betterunited” to 91999.

Companies interested in scheduling a presentation or running a workplace campaign can contact Nick Dean, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County communications and administrative coordinator, at 716-483-1561 or ndean@uwayscc.org.


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