The Mesa United Way kicked off its 2011-12 pledge campaign Wednesday with a goal of raising more than $2.8 million to help people in need.
"Now, more than ever, the needs are significant," Mesa United Way President Dan Wollam said in a news release. He pointed out that Arizona's poverty rate has risen to 18.6 percent; the national rate is 15.1 percent.
"That figure is alarming," he said. "We've got people right here in our community who are hurting. That's why, even though we know that most people are on tight budgets, we've bumped up our goal for this year's campaign."
This year's goal is $2,825,000. The total collected during the 2010-11 campaign was $2,680,211, according to the release.
Mesa United Way's pledge campaign helps fund 45 programs throughout the community: youth educational, sports and guidance, shelters for abused and homeless adults and children, behavioral health programs for people with developmental disabilities and the homebound elderly. The programs are administered by 27 agencies that must meet a rigorous set of conditions and oversight by Mesa United Way, the release said.
"Mesa United Way helps donors to have the best impact possible by researching, evaluating, and monitoring community service agencies," Wollam said. "You can feel confident when you give to Mesa United Way that every dollar will be used to help those in need."
Mesa United Way's operating expenses are covered by corporate sponsors and grants.