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United Way Agencies Facing Cutbacks As Fund-raising Efforts Stall

Dec. 5, 2006 — Although the United Way of St. Thomas-St. John launched its annual fund-raising campaign back in October with a goal of generating $800,000, the organization has yet to reach the halfway point. With just a few months left in the campaign, United Way has raised roughly 40 percent of its goal, according to a release issued Tuesday.
The organization is now counting on the generosity of loyal donors who are still deciding on their pledges. Additionally, United Way hopes to attract new donors who may be looking for high-impact ways to give back to the community.
Although the campaign officially ends Jan. 31, the release states that corporate, government and individual givers can make donations or pledges through March 31.
This years campaign has been somewhat of a challenge. With the elections having just taken place, many Virgin Islanders who made donations to political campaigns may have less available to give to other charitable causes. Additionally, a number of economic factors have led some major supporters who gave five-figure donations last year to significantly reduce their contributions for 2007, explained campaign co-chair Alicia Boatwright.
The United Way of St. Thomas-St. John provides financial support to 13 human services agencies serving the two islands. If United Way does not meet its goal, the agencies will suffer cutbacks in their allocations. A reduction in operating revenue could cause many agencies to reduce or eliminate needed charitable programs serving the communitys residents. We have our work cut out for us. Raising $480,000 over the next few months will take tremendous effort and teamwork. Luckily, we have a talented group of campaign volunteers who will continue to search high and low for donations so that next year, we can support the agencies with funding levels that are consistent with 2006, said Ermin Boschulte, the campaigns other co-chair.
According to the release, the United Way agencies have been carefully selected to address the most critical community needs in the areas of youth development, food and shelter, health crisis and intervention, accessible transportation, advocacy and legal services, and summer youth programs. The network includes American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Catholic Charities, Civil Air Patrol, Dial-A-Ride on both islands, Ebenezer Gardens, Legal Services, Yellow Cedar Group Home, V.I. Institute for Teaching and Learning, Lutheran Reformation summer youth program, St. Thomas Reformed Church summer youth program, and Habitat for Humanity, the newest agency to join the fold.
The 2007 fund-raising campaign builds on the momentum that began in 2005 with the theme: Your Islands, Your Home, Your United Way. All funds raised here stay here to directly serve the St. Thomas and St. John communities.
To make a tax-deductible contribution or pledge to the United Way, contact the United Way office at 774-3185 or make a donation online. Gifts can also be mailed to United Way of St. Thomas-St. John at Nisky Center, Suite 220, St. Thomas, USVI 00802.
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