Charity sets goal of 15% increase $303,000 sought from government workers

September 04, 1997|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

A headline and article in Thursday's edition of The Sun for Carroll County incorrectly stated fund-raising plans for the local chapter of United Way. Volunteers at the agency hope to raise $303,000 from workers, businesses and agencies throughout the county, only a portion of which could come from county government employees.

The Sun regrets the error.

Local volunteers in the 1997 United Way campaign have set a goal to raise 15 percent more this year by collecting $303,000 from Carroll County government employees.

That goal counts on several new employee groups to join the campaign, and for participation to increase at businesses and agencies that have campaigns, said Robin Saul, chairman of the local fund drive and publisher of the Carroll County Times.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

"Our employee base in Carroll County is not the 300-and 400-employee groups," Saul said. "We have more of the 15, 25 and 30 people [employers], and they're important, too."

But the biggest "fruit on the vine" is the approximately 200 employees of Carroll County government, Saul said.

The County Commissioners have been 2-to-1 against offering their staff a payroll deduction option for United Way. Local campaign leaders are trying to persuade the county to participate.

Saul said he is awaiting the results of a survey the commissioners did of their employees, about whether they want the option. But either way, the county goal is set at $303,000 by Nov. 12.

"We set this goal before calls were even made on the county board [of commissioners]," said Mark Pohlhaus, a campaign captain and vice president at Westminster Bank & Trust.

"It is a disappointment that we have not been successful so far with Carroll County government, but we will have several new employee campaigns this year."

Among them will be Taneytown Bank & Trust, St. John's Catholic School and Sylvan Learning Center, Pohlhaus said.

Many of Carroll County's largest employers -- such as banks, Random House, Carroll County Schools, Londontown Manufacturing, Western Maryland College and Carroll County General Hospital -- have campaigns.

Carroll did not have a highly organized United Way campaign until about three years ago, when Joe Beaver, then president of Union National Bank, put together a cabinet of local business leaders, Saul said.

Giving has increased greatly since then, with a big jump last year in corporate pledges, he said, although the bread and butter of United Way is still payroll deduction contributions by employees.

Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown has favored allowing county employees the payroll deduction option, but Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Richard T. Yates have opposed it.

Dell and Yates said they are concerned that it could appear to be an endorsement by the county, or could constitute coercion if employees feel pressure to give.

Hope on payroll deduction

In the meantime, United Way officials and volunteers haven't given up hope the commissioners will allow a payroll deduction, said Larry Walton, president of United Way of Central Maryland.

Walton and the local volunteers have provided commissioners with samples of letters other employers give their workers, making it clear the donations are voluntary, and copies of the pledge card, which allows donors to direct where the money goes.

Yates said that although he opposes payroll deduction, United Way is welcome to solicit employees.

Walton said the local volunteers would take up the commissioners on that offer even if payroll deduction is not allowed.

"It's just that without payroll deduction, it's difficult to raise any significant amount of money, because people have to come up with a lump sum," Walton said.

1996 statistics

United Way of Central Maryland, which includes Baltimore City and the counties in the metropolitan area, raised $263,480 from Carroll-based employees last year (the figure does not include donations by Carroll residents who work outside the county), and sent $764,834 to the county this year through grants to community agencies such as Human Services Programs Inc. of Carroll County, Scouting groups and the Red Cross.

Pub Date: 9/04/97

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