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Economic concerns cause Lubbock Area United Way to lower campaign goal

Published: Sep. 7, 2018 at 8:36 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2018 at 10:17 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Lubbock Area United way is lowering their campaign goal for 2018, citing drought and economic concerns.

Since the end of January to their campaign launch on August 23, the Lubbock Area United Way says it had gathered information from business leaders and other community members about what could impact their 2018 fund raising. What they heard prompted the organization to lower their campaign goal for the first time in many years.

"We listened to a lot of voices," Campaign Chair Doug Hensley said. "Some of those are in the business community. Some of those are in other sectors. Some of those are in higher education. We have long conversations with the campaign cabinet, which are a group of people that are volunteers from across the community and also have specific expertise. Then, we set the goal. The way we set the goal is that we want the number that will make us work to get to that goal but we don't want a number that is impossible to get to that goal."

Hensley said most conversations were positive but there was enough concern about the drought and other struggles to fundraise in previous years to lower this year's goal to $5,935,151. In 2016 it was $6,026,041. In 2017 it was $6,091,976.

"We thought that maybe this is a year where there was, for lack of a better term, a market correction, we would pull the goal back a little bit, which I think reflects United Way. They are really good about having their finger on the pulse of the community," Hensley said. "They pay attention to what is going on. They understand all the moving parts of the economy. The people that are here have been here for some time and they know what is going on. Their expertise helped inform that final number that we came to."

The Reagor Dykes Auto Group has been one of the Lubbock Area United Way's largest supporters in previous years. In 2017, United Way reported that the company donated at least $100,000. RDAG is now facing bankruptcy and lawsuits.

"The best answer I can give you is that would have been one of the many, many factors that we considered as we went about deciding what the goal would be this year," Hensley said.

According to the latest campaign report in 2017, campaigns back to 2006, have seen growth each year, except in 2010. Hensley told KCBD that each year they want to move the goal up to reflect inflation and other factors but they are also realistic about how things went in the previous year.

"I want to point out it's not going to be easy to get to $5.9 million this year," Hensley said. "We are going to need to continue to rely on the generosity of the people of West Texas to not only get to that number but I hope the Tuesday after Thanksgiving we're announcing we exceeded $6 million for the third year in a row."

Lubbock Area United Way supports 23 community partner agencies that work to better the community in a variety of ways. That includes helping to end homelessness to working to end sex trafficking. Funds collected each year are dispersed to those agencies to fund specific programs or services. This year United Way is focusing on literacy.

On Sept. 20, volunteers will read to more than 3,400 2nd graders in four school districts across Lubbock. The students will be given a book and crafts that go along with the book, The Little Red Fort.

United Way says most donors are giving $5 to $10 a month, showing how the collective power of the community can do a lot of good.

"Every donation matters," Hensley said. "Everybody who helps, no matter how little they help, that is awesome and appreciated. If you don't have the means to donate, look at these agencies and volunteer, they will change your heart as well."

To volunteer or donate, click here.

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