Centraide announces a campaign objective of $1.8 million; honors community volunteerism

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TOMPKINS COUNTY, NY—United Way of Tompkins County announced its 2022-23 campaign goal of $1.8 million at a kick-off event on September 23.

Interim Chief Operating Officer Gail Belokur and UWTC Board Chair Scott Keenan presented a check for $3,000 to Joannie Barber, a full-time volunteer at local food pantries, for county pantries in honor of Caring Canadian Day.

Left to right, Keenan, Barber and Belokur. (Photo by Zoe Freer-Hessler)

“It is our great pleasure to honor Joannie and thank her for all of her hard work, we present to you a check for $3,000 for your cause,” Keenan said. “Joannie benefits our community in ways I can’t even begin to measure.”

Last month, Barber said she served more than a thousand people with donations. “Every food distribution is different […] things are going very, very far and we are touching many lives.

“Give, advocate, volunteer. That’s what we’ve been for many years – what our call to action has been for many years. You are going to hear a lot more about advocacy and volunteerism this year,” Belokur said. “In advocacy, we all need to do our part – everyone needs an equal and accessible share.”

This year’s campaign co-chairs are Ithaca City Alderman Ducson Nguyen and Deb Mohlenhoff, former Ithaca Alderman and current Associate Vice President for College Relations at Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Ahead of the announcement of this year’s goal, which is themed around new donors, Nguyen said, “United Way has long played a huge role in improving our community, and 100% of your donations go to the needs of the community. »

Mohlenhoff said one of the reasons she’s most excited about co-chairing the campaign is that “what I heard was really needed was cultivating new networks, new friendships and new partnerships. We have an incredible base of long-time donors who have always supported us, but there are a lot of new members in the community, new faces and new people.

Mohlenhoff also said the volunteer base helps decide where the funds go — “these people really have a meaningful impact on others.”

Ducson and Mohlenhoff shared fun facts about themselves: they are fans of craft cocktails and coffee, respectively. “We want to raise the equivalent of 150,000 craft cocktails,” Nguyen said with a laugh.

“If we were to frame our goal in the local lattes, […] that would be 300,000 local lattes. If we each dropped one a week, we would be well on our $1.8 million goal,” Mohlenhoff announced.

The 2021-2022 campaign received a total of $1,767,188 through Community Care Fund donations, donor donations for programming, student engagement programs, COVID recovery, agency donations specific and leading partner companies, among others.

UWTC is hosting several events this fall. The “Unite for Kindness” series in conjunction with Tompkins County Bullying Prevention is from 4-7 p.m. Oct. 7 at United Way at 313 N. Aurora Street.

The UWTC Giving Day fundraiser and peer-to-peer celebrations will take place at Monks on the Commons with Nguyen and Mohlenhoff serving as bartenders from 5-7 p.m. on November 16.

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