Sept. 24, 2003 – In a climate of territorial, national and global economic contractions and concerns, the United Way of St. Thomas-St. John leadership has opted to challenge the community to give more generously than ever before — because the needs are greater than ever before.
The agency's board of directors has approved a 2004 fund-raising goal of $800,000 — an increase of 23 percent from the 2003 target of $650,000, which was met.
The 2004 campaign kicks off on Oct. 1 and will run through next Jan. 31.
In recent years, the United Way campaign goals have escalated sharply and have been met even though these have not been boom times in the territory. The goal went from $490,000 in 1999 to $500,000 in 2000. For 2002, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and their economic impact locally, the directors raised the ante to a record $650,000, and again, met their goal. For 2003, again $650,000 was set and met.
"While there have been increases in donations to the United Way Campaign in the last few years, the need for the services provided by United Way's member agencies has increased at a greater rate," Steve Baker, 2004 campaign chair, said in a release distributed on Wednesday.
Baker, the president of Baker Magras and Associates, added: "Member agencies are witnessing a rise in the number of clients they serve and at the same time struggling to keep their doors open as local and federal government support dwindles."
The board recognizes that the goal "presents a challenge," he said, "but we are committed to provide substantial allocations to the United Way agencies."
Volunteering their services on the 2004 campaign committee along with Baker are Cherri Carty, Victor Chugani, Carole DeSenne, Joan Pilgrim Dawson, Marion Esannason, Shirley Quetel Hendricks, William Lambert, Margaret Moore, Marcia Resnick, Dr. Margaret Sprauve and Averricia Williams. Each will head up campaign efforts targeting a particular segment of the community. Assisting the committee is Raymond Szymanski, chair of United Way's leadership giving group, The Pacesetters.
The funds raised in the 2004 campaign will benefit 16 local service agencies and organizations and also will provide funding for venture grants. The benefitting groups are the American Red Cross, V.I. Council of Boy Scouts of America, Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands, Civil Air Patrol, Downstreet People's Youth in Action, Dial-A-Ride St. John, Dial-A-Ride St. Thomas, Ebenezer Gardens, Friends of Volunteers in Public Schools, Girl Scout Council, Legal Services of the Virgin Islands, Lutheran Reformation Summer Program, St. Thomas Reformed Church Summer Program, Shaky Acres, V.I. Institute for Teaching and Learning and the Yellow Cedar Group Home.
For more information, call the United Way office at 774-3185.
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