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United Way fundraising goes above and beyond

  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Chuck Gijanto speaks during a United Way luncheon on Tuesday at the Greenfield Country Club of Greenfield.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Chuck Gijanto speaks during a United Way luncheon on Tuesday at the Greenfield Country Club of Greenfield.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Chuck Gijanto speaks with coworkers during a United Way luncheon on Tuesday at the Greenfield Country Club of Greenfield.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Chuck Gijanto speaks with coworkers during a United Way luncheon on Tuesday at the Greenfield Country Club of Greenfield.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Chuck Gijanto speaks during a United Way luncheon on Tuesday at the Greenfield Country Club of Greenfield.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Chuck Gijanto speaks during a United Way luncheon on Tuesday at the Greenfield Country Club of Greenfield.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Chuck Gijanto speaks during a United Way luncheon on Tuesday at the Greenfield Country Club of Greenfield.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Chuck Gijanto speaks with coworkers during a United Way luncheon on Tuesday at the Greenfield Country Club of Greenfield.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Chuck Gijanto speaks during a United Way luncheon on Tuesday at the Greenfield Country Club of Greenfield.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

GREENFIELD — Franklin County’s economic struggles do not prevent residents from continuing to donate money and time toward those in need, said Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Chuck Gijanto at a United Way luncheon Wednesday.

The United Way of Franklin County, which is nearing the end of its annual fundraising campaign, announced at the “LiveUnited Community Celebration” that it had raised nearly $804,500, exceeding its goal by $15,000. Baystate Health, the agency’s lead sponsor this year, has been matching donations and will continue to do so through the month of May.

United Way partners with 24 different agencies on about 40 different programs that help local people. A literacy program connects volunteers with 380 local pre-schoolers to inspire an early love for reading. A medical prescription discount program has saved about 1,500 Franklin County individuals nearly $96,000 since 2008.

Gijanto, who is leaving the hospital at the end of June, said that he was amazed by the county’s generosity and welcoming nature when he arrived here in 2008.

And the county’s residents have gone above and beyond to take on a recent heroin and opioid epidemic, he said.

“There are literally hundreds of people meeting (about this) throughout every week,” said Gijanto.

“There are communities that lay back and become victims and then there are communities that fight against it,” he said. “This is a community that’s fighting against it. And while it’s a huge problem and it’s going to take some time, this community will get its arms around it and get it under control.”

Also at the lunch, the United Way gave out “Community Builder” awards to three donors: Channing Bete Co., VSS and Deerfield Academy teacher Mark Scandling.

Channing Bete, an education and publishing company in South Deerfield, has given nearly $828,000 over the past 10 years with contributions from 90 to 95 percent of its employees, said United Way Executive Director Linda Stacy.

VSS, a Greenfield-based advanced manufacturing company, had a very successful inaugural United Way campaign this year, said Stacy. The company matched employee donations, giving a total of $8,880.

And Scandling, a United Way board member, annually leads a large fundraising effort at the private high school Deerfield Academy, said Stacy.

You can reach Chris Shores at: cshores@recorder.com, 413-772-0261, ext. 264, on Twitter follow: @RecorderShores

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