‘We need the community’s help’

United Way of Cullman County facing fundraising shortfall

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United Way of Cullman County (Cullman Tribune file photo)

CULLMAN, Ala. – United Way of Cullman County (UWCC) announced on Wednesday that it is facing a serious shortfall in its annual funding campaign that will affect the amount of support it can give to its 19 local partner agencies, as well as other community programs.

UWCC is asking the community to help close the gap.

United Way’s annual fundraising campaign is just weeks away from concluding and a significant funding gap has been identified due to the inability to conduct normal fundraising activities or events, said a statement from the organization.

“I have seen our staff, our donors, our volunteers and our entire community step up in an unprecedented way during the pandemic, but our most recent estimates are that over $45,000 will not be available for critical programs our agencies implement,” said UWCC Executive Director Becky Goff.

Each year, UWCC invests community donations in 19 local agencies and programs. These cornerstone programs provide the Cullman community with critical support in the areas of health, education and financial stability. UWCC-funded programs such as indigent care for terminally ill patients, health care for uninsured patients, after school and summer enrichment programs for children, services to homebound seniors or individuals with disabilities, and organizations dealing with food insecurity are at risk to see a reduction in support.

“2020 was a year we will never forget,” said Goff. “We had to ramp up our efforts to help our agencies that were stretched thin, and we conducted many of our campaigns virtually.” 

Employee giving and matching funds donated by the companies where they work typically fuel most of the United Way’s fundraising.  The decrease is not from the lack of support for UWCC’s mission, but from the impact of COVID-19 such as employees working remotely, corporate partners that have had furloughs or reductions and employees who are spread very thin, and that may be struggling with their own fatigue or morale. 

“We need the community’s help.  We are asking everyone to show support for our community and consider donating to United Way; a gift of any amount will make a difference in someone’s life,” Goff said.

The statement said that in Cullman we are still facing food shortages, and agencies that were working on shoestring budgets to begin with continue to be stretched thin. 

UWCC is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, and contributions are tax-deductible. Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 116, Cullman, AL 35056 or dropped off at the UWCC office located in the historic Cullman Train Depot by Depot Park, or donate by credit card at www.uwaycc.org.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com