By Kelly Young

The officers of the United Fund of Cherokee County will meet Monday, May 11, with representatives from about 20 local non-profit agencies seeking financial aid from the group this year. They will then determine the funding allocations for each of the participating organizations.

Despite a difficult fund-raising campaign last year, UFCC officials are confident they can attain the goal again in 2009, and they have decided not to lower last year’s target of $115,000. This is the fourth year in a row UFCC has set a campaign goal of $115,000.

Campaign President David Myers said it is a difficult task trying to determine how much funding each of the applicants should get.

“I have served on this committee for five years now, and all of the groups that present to us are worthy causes,” Myers said. “It’s less of a question of ‘Should they get any money?’ and more of a decision of how to distribute the funds for the best benefit to the community.”

The budget hearing will begin at 9 a.m. at the Norman Activity Center, and will continue until all agencies have had a chance to plead their cases.

Non-profit organizations seeking assistance will need to provide last year’s budget information to the United Fund for review prior to the May 11 meeting. To be considered by the board, an agency must meet all requirements as laid out by the Basic Standards for United Fund Agencies, which can be acquired from UFCC Secretary Betty Ewalt at 903-721-9285.

Social services which are currently not receiving aid from UFCC but would like to be considered this year also need to contact Ewalt prior to the budget meeting.

The 18 non-profits receiving assistance last year were ACCESS, the American Red Cross, the Boy Scouts of America, the Cherokee County Child and Family Services, the Cherokee County Crisis Center, the Cherokee County Sheltered Workshop, the Christmas Cheer Program, Court Approved Special Advocates, DARE, the Eagle’s Nest, the East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the Girl Scouts of the USA, Good Samaritan, HOPE, the Jacksonville Literacy Council, Living Alternatives, Meals on Wheels and the Salvation Army.

Myers said the success of this year’s campaign could again be threatened by the recession, but he said he is optimistic about the United Fund’s chances.

“We are anticipating a tough fund-raising year due to the recession, but hopefully we will be coming out of the recession by the time we actually do our drive in the fall,” he said. “Last year we were also in the midst of the recession and we still managed to make our goal. It probably won’t be one of our better years, but I expect us to make our target again this year — I believe the people of Cherokee County are up to the task.”

The annual fall fund raising campaign will begin in September. A drive chairperson for this year’s campaign has not been determined yet.

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