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United Way raises more than expected

By Leanne Fuller lfuller@paducahsun.com

United Way of Paducah-McCracken County will hold its annual Victory Celebration later this month, following a campaign season that brought in less funding than previous years, but more than expected.

Monique Zuber, United Way of Paducah-McCracken County executive director, said Friday that the final figure for this season's campaign is not yet in, but the organization has anticipated a decrease from previous years because of layoffs last year at United States Enrichment Corp.

Zuber said in previous years USEC was a wonderful supporter in both payroll deduction from employees and through corporate donations, and the local United Way usually received well over $120,000 through USEC.

She explained that because campaign funds were down this season, so was the amount the organization was able to distribute to the programs it supports. She said those programs may have to find additional funding through grants or other sources, but that United Way has been preparing for the funding decrease and kept the programs abreast of the situation.

However, Zuber said because of the work by United Way staff and community members, the organization was able to make up some of the lost ground anticipated.

"I think our community always responds in a time of need," Zuber said.

The United Way didn't set an official fundraising goal for this campaign season. Zuber said the organization's board of directors supported the decision because of uncertainty about how much of a loss USEC would represent.

She said while fundraising dollars were down, she's hopeful for the future because the loss was not as deep as the United Way had planned. Zuber also said United Way will hopefully be able to set a campaign goal next season now that it has a better idea of the difference in funding the layoffs have made.

"Hopefully this isn't a long-term challenge for us," Zuber said. "I think we'll be able to gain some traction in the coming years, and we'll be able to get that campaign back up."

The 2014 Victory Celebration, which includes a lunch and award ceremony recognizing contributors, will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 27 at Walker Hall.

Individual tickets are $20, and corporate sponsorship tables - that reserves a table for eight and comes with recognition at the celebration - are $250. Zuber said revenue from the Victory Celebration goes toward United Way campaign funds.

Zuber said contact United Way of Paducah-McCracken County Administrative Assistant Monica Dolhun at 270-442-1691 or Monica@unitedwaypaducah.org to make reservations for the Victory Celebration.

Contact Leanne Fuller, a Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.

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