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United Way puts up first fundraising star

Though fundraising efforts for the fiscal year have barely started, the United Way of Prince Edward County has already raised $13,000 toward its $65,000 goal.

The feat was largely because of a $9,000 grant through the Payne Foundation, a longtime and generous supporter of the local United Way and its efforts, board members recently noted.

Consequently, as part of the United Way Board of Director’s meeting on Monday, Oct. 7, members posed with the first of five stars tracking its fundraising on the board in front of Citizens Bank & Trust. The United Way will provide funding for 24 community groups in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The last fiscal year was the biggest for the United Way, as the board doled out $56,000 of the approximately $61,000 raised to its 22 partners, Rucker Snead, president of the local United Way Board of Directors, noted at the time. The United Way surpassed its $60,000 goal for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

“Financially we had our best year ever,” Snead said a few months ago. “We gave out the most money ever. We’re starting out in solid shape.”

Thus, the group is gearing up to put its fundraising efforts in gear and has high hopes for this year.

On Monday, Oct. 28, Centra Southside Community Hospital will host a bake sale fundraiser for the United Way from 7 a.m. until noon.

And, within the next few weeks, hundreds of letters will be mailed out soliciting donations from area residents. Through the years, the effort has been one of the United Way’s cornerstone fundraisers

Meanwhile, the group is making plans for the third annual Great Duck Derby, which will be held May 1, 2020, in conjunction with the Heart of Virginia Festival and Live at Riverside presented by the Farmville Jaycees. Last year’s event raised $6,030.

Bruce Davis, who is planning the event again this year, said he hopes to have sponsors lined by mid-January. A more aggressive marketing campaign is also in the planning, with the possibility of t-shirts recognizing the major donors, and, in March and April, a padding of man-made ducks in people’s yards as a fundraiser and promotion.

Board member Jennifer Kinne declared the events tagline will be, “Surprise – you’ve been ducked!”

Then, on Saturday, Nov. 23, another fundraiser and promotion will be a “chuck a duck” contest held during halftime of the Hampden-Sydney College home game against Randolph- Macon College.

Nearly 94 percent of the money the group raises goes to its nonprofit partners, and the United Way has helped with everything from paying for school students to take swimming lessons at the YMCA, to helping send 4H members to a show, board members note.