The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 22, 2013

United Way drive raises more than $1M

JOHNSTOWN — For the fifth year in a row, United Way of the Laurel Highlands’ annual fund drive brought in more than $1 million to the local charity.

The organization raised $1,063,123 throughout the final months of 2012 and the first weeks of this year. The United Way announced the total during a celebration connected to Somerset’s Fire & Ice Festival.

“We are focused on meeting the needs of our community, and this year’s fundraising will impact the lives of many people in need,” Laurel Highlands chapter President Bill McKinney said. “It will also allow us to invest in evidence-based programs that will address several important initiatives such as early childhood development, disengaged parents, and drug and alcohol prevention.”

The total was a little short of the record $1,103,000 collected during the previous year.

“In spite of the difficult economic environment and the downsizing of several employers in the region, we are extremely proud of the work done by our volunteers, board and staff, and the final outcome,” campaign chairman Larry Coco said.

The local United Way chapter now will begin dividing the money among its partner agencies, which include Alternative Community Resource Program Inc., Boy Scouts of America Laurel Highlands Council and The Learning Lamp.

Along with helping those longstanding partners, the United Way is opening an application process for qualified nonprofits in Cambria and Somerset counties.

United Way hopes bringing in more affiliates can help to address issues outlined in the group’s recent Community Needs Assessment, in which early childhood development, drug and alcohol prevention, and mental illness education were listed as areas of importance. The organization wants to find partners that can help with nurse-family and parent-child relationships.

“We now have a clear focus and road map to make significant improvements in the lives of many in need in our community,” McKinney said.

“These funding requests will allow us to partner with high-performing nonprofits to deliver quality, evidenced-based programming that will result in measurable results.”

Any nonprofit organization interested in making a request for partnerships should contact UWLH community impact manager Paula Gojmerac at Pgojmerac.uwlh@atlanticbbn.net, 535-2563 or 445-6927.

Applications will be accepted until Friday.

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