Charitable Fund Drive critical for local agencies

Only 180 OSU employees have contributed so far this year

While Benton County’s economy is consistently outperforming other Oregon counties, the dependence on assistance from non-profit agencies in our community continues to be high. In fact, according to Corrie Latimer, director of development for United Way of Benton and Lincoln Counties, there’s a ‘new normal’ that county agencies are facing under the current economy.

“Things are not worse, but not that much better,” she said. “We’re having to do more with less.”

The Charitable Fund Drive at Oregon State University, which will end Jan. 31, makes up 16 percent of the local United Way’s campaign dollars. OSU employees collectively donate more to United Way than any other employee  group in the county.

“The impact is almost indescribable,” Latimer said.

United Way is one of a number of local agencies to which  OSU employees can donate to through the Charitable Fund Drive, and it is the organization that receives the most donations. United Way dollars support 31 programs at almost 25 agencies, mainly through grants, as well as providing organizational funds for the annual Day of Caring and providing needs assessment to determine the greatest areas of community need, such as food and housing.

Dollars donated by OSU staff and faculty during the annual Charitable Fund Drive directly impact local non-profits in major ways. Each year, the campus community donates more than $100,000 through the fund drive, benefiting organizations focused on art, the environment, children, health and other causes with personal significance for donors.

Last year, donations totaled $113,393. This year, donations are down more than 20 percent so far, with less than a week to go. Only 180 OSU employees have made a contribution.

If each of the more than 4,500 employees at OSU donated just $5 per month, donations could total $270,000, doubling last year’s amount.

Donations to the Charitable Fund Drive are being accepted on-line through Jan. 31. To make your contribution, go to http://oregonstate.edu/charitablefunddrive/. Donations can be parceled out over a 12-month period and can be automatically deducted from your paycheck.

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