United Way campaign hits $300,000

March 5, 2018

Though the campaign deadline approaches, United Way of Stephens officials and leaders remain optimistic the $25,000 fund-raising goal can be reached.

Businesses, industries, civic clubs, foundations and individuals have combined to raise more than $300,000 as they work through the stretch run.

That’s 92.3 percent of an admittedly challenging target.

“We’re really proud of the communities we serve for answering the call to help those less fortunate,” campaign co-chairman Ken Graham said. “Delighted, but not surprised. Our communities have always shown a generous spirit and have been willing to offer a helping hand. All of us should be touched and gratified by that.”

Campaign officials are hoping a couple of significant businesses, several employee groups and individuals who have donated in previous years will push this year’s effort over the top.

“Obviously,” co-chairman DeDe Graham said, “these last few days are critical. We need some help. Time is running out on our campaign and while our goal is $325,000, community needs are much greater. It has been and still is a difficult time for many.”

Letters reminding previous donors who haven’t given this year and prospective donors who can join the campaign have been mailed. Telephone calls encouraging contributions are being made. And follow-up contacts are keeping staff members busy.

“Needs addressed by our 13 partner agencies are both basic and real,” Ed Darling, executive director of the United Way, said. “They affect our friends and neighbors. They deal with local people, local problems, local issues and local solutions.

“And the monies raised here provide hope, temporary relief and second chances.”

Started in 1954 as the Community Chest, the charitable group has been meeting needs continuously for 64 years.

Agencies part of the United Way effort are Christians Concerned, Delta Community Action Foundation, Douglass East Side Senior Citizens, Duncan Community Residence, Duncan Literary Council, Duncan Senior Citizens Center, Gabriel’s House Academy, Gillispie Counseling Services, Heartline 2-1-1, Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Marlow Samaritans and Women’s Haven.