United Way to kick off annual campaign Tuesday

  • Last year, the United Way of Franklin County kicked off its annual fundraising campaign at Magpie Woodfired Pizza in Greenfield. This year, the campaign will kick off at Camp Apex during a family-friendly event. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 8/23/2019 6:16:12 PM
Modified: 8/23/2019 6:15:54 PM

The United Way of Franklin County will kick off its annual fundraising campaign at Camp Apex in Shelburne on Tuesday with a free family-friendly event that will include swimming, a barbecue, a tube slide, a gaga ball pit and a performance by Hilltown Youth.

A departure from past years — the kickoff was held in more formal settings, like Magpie Woodfired Pizza last year — the United Way decided to be more inclusive to families and create an atmosphere of fun and relaxation before the campaign kicks into high gear, according to Executive Director Kelly Brigham-Steiner.

She said staff also wanted to “show off” what is great about Franklin County and the United Way’s partner agencies by hosting at the Greenfield YMCA’s Camp Apex.

The kickoff for the campaign, themed “Dear Franklin County,” will be held from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at the camp on Peckville Road.

Brigham-Steiner said this year during the campaign, people will have the opportunity to write love letters to the county — wishes for the community or challenges for it to overcome.

“The theme shows that we can love our dear Franklin County, while recognizing that there is still a need for our collective support,” Brigham-Steiner said.

In June, last year’s annual fundraising campaign co-chairwomen Amanda Abramson-Clarke and Elizabeth Fisk announced at the nonprofit’s annual Community Celebration and Recognition Breakfast that last year’s campaign raised $582,659 with another $75,000 in pledges, bringing the total to $657,659. Another $75,000 was raised to support specific projects and programs.

This year’s campaign chairwoman is Patriciann Pirog. She told people at that breakfast that five years ago she was in a motorcycle crash that left her injured and out of work for six months.

“I was one paycheck away from being someone who needed the United Way’s help,” Pirog said. “My family and I were the exception.”

So, she said, she wants to give back to her community, deciding to work with the United Way.

“It takes a village to support this type of campaign and be the voice for those who don’t have one,” she said. “We are that voice. This is our chance to make a difference.”

United Way Treasurer Rose Bache said 85 percent of the money raised goes to programs, 12 percent to administrative costs and 3 percent to fundraising costs.

“We continue our work to provide educational, financial and health stability,” Bache said.

Bache said last year the United Way provided $458,960 of support to 27 partner agencies throughout the community to help those in need. Some of the events the United Way holds are its annual diaper driver, Blooming Backpacks, Strength in Nachos, Arts & Leisure Auction Gala and more.

The Campaign Kickoff is a way for the community, United Way partner agencies and supporters to come together, have some fun and get excited for the work of fundraising in the coming months, Brigham-Steiner said.

For those who would like to attend the campaign kickoff, Brigham-Steiner said they should RSVP by calling 413-772-2168 or emailing: cgracia@uw-fc.org. You can also register at: uw-fc.org. Those who attend should bring a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen and bug spray.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.




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