Graham United Way kicks off 2016 campaign

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The Graham Area United Way held their campaign kickoff luncheon last Tuesday, announcing their goal for the year of $118,000.
The organization overall has raised a total of $48,525.79 which encompasses 41 percent of the goal. Graham Area United Way Executive Director Susie Cerecedez said the organization has been around 60 years, helping nonprofits in Graham.
“We raise funds to support nonprofit agencies that help keep the community up and running and we support the needs that are here,” Cerecedez said.
The organization has a steady stream of returning contributors but Cerecedez said the hardest thing is finding new contributors. One specific problem for the organization is attracting a younger group of donors, said Campaign Chairwoman Sarah Lundgren.
“The problem is, we have had all these donors for 60 years and say they die, it’s hard to find those same type of givers to replace, because the fact of it is, the older generation just gave so much money because they knew the importance of it,” Lundgren said.
The organization supports 15 local agencies that they allocate money to every year. Funds are distributed by an allocation committee which contains members also in the executive committee and board of directors for United Way.
For a nonprofit organization in Graham to become a member of United Way it depends on how much money the organization has raised, Cerecedez said. If the organization receives over the amount needed and a nonprofit has applied, then Cerecedez will ask the board if they want to accept a new agency.
“If the board says ‘yes,’ they want to accept new agencies because we raised above the goal, then they (the organization) have to be up and running within the Graham communities, supporting people for three years in a row. They have to be 501(c)3 and can’t support a small group – they have to support anybody that walks in the door,” Cerecedez said.
The organization has three major events coming up in Graham with the first starting at the end of the month. These events will help towards the funding which goes to organizations throughout Graham.
The first event is a drawing for a trailer, with tickets for sale at the Graham Steers Homecoming Football game on Sept. 30 and during the game against Krum on Friday, Oct. 21. The trailer drawing will take place on Friday, Oct. 28 with a live broadcast from Potter’s Pizza.
The second event is called the Graham Jam and will have four bands compete for a $2,500 cash prize on Oct. 16. The free event is sponsored by private donations and the winner will also be offered the chance to play at the third annual Food Truck Championship of Texas event.
“How it is going to tie into United Way is we are going to do a change-for-change bucket and during it, we are going to ask people to bring their spare change and we are going to collect it. And hopefully that can be like a special donation to United Way and even it’s, like, 100 bucks, it’s going to be $100 more than we had,” Lundgren said.
For further information on the Graham Area United Way, call 940-549-5152 or visit their office at 512 2nd St. The organization is always looking for new volunteers and donations to support the agencies who benefit the Graham community.
“The time to give is now because if we keep procrastinating and keep waiting, we are going to have a really hard time filling these amounts that we have allocated to these groups, and without United Way these groups wouldn’t be able to do what they do for our community,” Lundgren said.



The Graham Leader

620 Oak Street
P.O. Box 600
Graham, Texas 76450
Phone: (940) 549-7800
Fax: (940) 228-0589