Best and worst for United Way

Dave Salomaki, president of the United Way of Southern Chester County, borrowed directly from Charles Dickens when he said the agency’s past year was “the best of times, it was the worst of times.” His comments came during the agency's annual meeting held May 18 at the Genesis Building in Kennett Square.

Among the best of times, he said, was the good work partner agencies did to meet the needs of the community. And he was especially pleased with the opening of Family Promise of Southern Chester County.

Headquartered in West Grove, Family Promise aims to alleviate homelessness in the county by working with area churches to provide temporary lodging for families with no homes. Family Promise then partners with various social service organizations to find permanent homes and jobs.

Salomaki said last year’s goal was for the United Way of Southern Chester County to provide start up funds for Family Promise. While the goal of getting it up and running last fall didn’t happen, the group is now open and functioning as planned.

This year’s expectation is to continue funding Family Promise and have it enter the normal allocations process next spring.

This was part of “the best of times — the community coming together to support a local need,” Salomaki said.

As an example of the worst of times, Salomaki said donations coming into the agency are down.

Pledges peaked during the 2012-2013 campaign, but donations have dropped since. He said projections for the current campaign is that it will fall off by about $100,000.

To counter that trend, UWSCC is updating its fundraising strategy. It will establish a new marketing plan, hire a marketing and communications manager, and target wealthy donors, among other strategies.

John Moriarty, vice president of the 2015-2016 campaign, said there was good and bad with the trend. While the total number of donors has declined, the amount given per donor is up. However, the donors who have left the fold were some larger corporate donors. Those donations dropped by 10 percent this year.

On the plus side, Moriarty said, donations from local business were $200,000, the same as last year, and residential donations — those coming in through a direct mail campaign — were $362,000, a 7 percent increase of last year. An additional $16,000 was raised through the Chocolate Lovers Festival in February.

Carol Haaf, the vice president of allocations, said the agency has spent $780,000 in allocations on 27 programs so far for this year’s campaign and that almost $900,000 will be allocated by the end of the campaign.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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