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United Way Sets Lofty Goal for '97 Campaign

United Way Sets Lofty Goal for '97 Campaign

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United Way Sets Lofty Goal for '97 Campaign


Ralph Cunningham, chairman of the 1997 Tulsa Area United Way campaign, announced the agency's $18,788,714 goal, the highest goal in the agency's history.

World Staff Photo by Tracy S. Morris

The agency hopes to raise $18,788,714, more than $83,000 higher than last year's contributions totaled.

The Tulsa Area United Way has set its 1997 fund-raising goal at $18,788,714, the highest goal in the agency's history.

Campaing Chairman Ralph Cunningham announced the goal Tuesday morning.

"It is certainly optimistic and, we believe, realistic," Cunningham said.

He said Tulsa's economy is strong and, with unemployment down, campaign organizers have a greater chance of reaching their goal.

"We probably have a more stable workplace than we have had in a number of years," he said. "We're quite encouraged that the goal that we have is achievable, is reachable, and we're looking forward to this year's campaign."

After raising $18,005,313 last year, volunteers and board members felt the campaign could handle a few changes in 1997.

Since the need always exceeds the fund-raising means, the campaign goal was raised 4 percent, a new agency was added to the list of beneficiaries and children and families have caught the focus of the finances.

Nearly 300 volunteers spent thousands of hours researching and evaluating agencies to benefit from this year's campaign, titled "Thanks To You, There's A Better Way."

Those volunteers decided that out of the 73 agencies receiving funds through the United Way, several will get a major increase in 1998, said Mike Rhoads, distribution chairman for the United Way and executive vice president and chief financial officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma.

In the spotlight next year, he said, will be social services at the neighborhood level.

Local mentoring programs for children, juvenile delinquency prevention, outreach programs to children in public housing and family literacy will receive a major portion of the camaign proceeds.

Additionally, Crossroads, a self-help rehabilitation center for the mentally ill, has been added to the United Way list.

"Now more than ever, changes in government funding bring changes in social services needs," Rhoads said. "Great care has been taken to ensure that every dollar that's given is used in the most efficient and effective way, meeting the highest priority needs for our community."

Unfortunately, United Way Chairman Larry Brummett said, "The goal never quite meets the need."

Beginning in February, requests for 1998 funds came flowing in from the agencies. They totaled 20,778,000.

"We can't always meet all the needs that are presented by the agencies," Rhoads said. "When it gets down to the bottom line on who gets what, we look at need, we look at our targeted issues and we come up with those final recommendations."

However, added Kathleen Coan, president and chief professional officer of the Tulsa Area United Way, "In this part of the country, goals are only made to be broken."

Campaign activities include:

The Idea Exchange will be held from 8 to 11:55 a.m. July 16 at Rogers University. The program will give campaign coordinators an opportunity to share ideas and success stories for fall United Way campaigns.

The date for the Mid-Campaign Event, updating the public on the campaign totals, will be announced in the near future.

The Sandblazer Volleyball Tournament, one of the largest sand volleyball tournaments in the Southwest, and the 5K run, sanctioned and certified by the United States Track and Field Association, will be held Aug. 8-10 at Helmerich Park.

The campaign will officially kick off with the annual Day of Caring at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 12 at the fairgrounds. Volunteers will spend the day working at the Tulsa Area United Way's 73 agencies.

The campaign will come to a close with Victory! on Nov. 13 at the Performing Arts Center for Education on the Southeast Campus of Tulsa Community College. The 1997 campaign total will be announced and volunteers will be honored.


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