Mesa United Way donations slow, but hope of reaching goal remains - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Mesa United Way donations slow, but hope of reaching goal remains

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Posted: Saturday, November 12, 2011 12:00 pm

Many East Valley workers have seen their paychecks cut or frozen for the past few years even as the cost of living has continued to rise. Many have lost their jobs.

And many who used to contribute a portion of their pay to the Mesa United Way to help others are now in the position of needing help themselves.

So, it’s not surprising that the agency’s 2011-12 pledge campaign is challenged this year. As of Friday, $432,024 had been raised toward the campaign’s goal of $2,825,000. The campaign, which started July 1, ends June 30, 2012.

“We have companies who say, ‘We will continue with the workplace campaign, but it is challenging,’ ” said Linda Haskell, resource development director for the Mesa United Way. “It’s a little slow, but we continue to be hopeful.”

Among the bright spots: Jackson White Attorneys at Law has increased this year’s donation by $7,000 compared with last year.

And then, there’s Leisure World Arizona, the active adult community in east Mesa, that continues — as it has for 35 years — to support the Mesa United Way campaign.

Friday morning, the United Way gave a presentation about the agency’s needs at the Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s “Good Morning East Valley” event.

“We’re having to do more with less,” Haskell told the Tribune. “We’re seeing that folks who gave in the past now need help themselves.”

The Mesa United Way funds agencies and programs that provide a range of services to homeless families, homebound elderly, victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, and youth in the community.

And their needs are growing. In September, Arizona’s poverty rate rose to 18.6 percent; the national rate is 15.1 percent.

Donations to the Mesa United Way’s pledge campaign go to 27 agencies throughout the East Valley that must meet rigorous conditions and oversight. Donations to this campaign do not go toward United Way’s operating costs; those expenses are covered by corporate sponsors and grants.

To help, visit www.mesaunitedway.org/give or call (480) 969-8601.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6820 or ctodd@evtrib.com

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