Pandemic compromised United Way campaign falls short

United Way Executive Director Dave Brown and 2019 Campaign Chair Vicky Ducharme. 2 January 2020. (Photo by United Way)

Despite a very challenging year, the Sarnia-Lambton United Way Campaign raised over 90 per cent of its target.

Executive Director Dave Brown said all the donations have been counted and the 2020 fundraising initiative closed at just over $1.75 million, or 92 per cent of the $1.9-million goal.

“We are very grateful to the community to have raised this much,” said Brown. “In my 34 years I’ve never had a campaign like this, which in many ways was more of a marathon. We started raising money for our Compassion Funding in early March and then went right through to the summer and started the campaign right then and there.”

Brown said unfortunately funding cuts to member agencies will be necessary.

“We were very honest when we told the community that our needs target was $1.9-million,” he said. “Because we are falling about $150,000 short, there will have to be cuts, they’re not likely to be across the board. We will look to see what agencies might be able to handle more of a cut than others.”

Brown said funding is guaranteed until March 31 for 18 local agencies providing 36 community programs and services.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of several fundraising events including the annual Sarnia Sting Black and White Game and the Locally Lambton Dinner.

It’s just the second time the organization has missed its target since 1993.

In 2018, the campaign fell just short of its $2-million goal, raising about $1.95-million.