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United Way Kicks Off 2007 Fundraising Campaign

Sept. 19, 2006 – United Way of St. Thomas-St. John will employ a new approach to kickoff its 2007 fundraising campaign to raise $800,000 for its 13 human services agencies and community organizations through its Venture Grant program. "With the Ritz-Carlton closed for renovations, United Way has decided to give the Campaign Kickoff a creative new twist this year by holding it at Ebenezer Gardens in conjunction with our annual Day of Caring," said Executive Director Thyra Hammond.
The "Day of Caring" part of the event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Ebenezer Gardens. Board members and volunteers will work together to paint a mural and construct a garden for the residents of Ebenezer Gardens, which is a United Way agency that provides low-income senior citizens with rent-subsidized 1-bedroom apartments and a range of services to help its tenants live independently. Volunteers are welcome and can register to participate in the Day of Caring on Saturday morning from 7:30-8 a.m. Painting and gardening supplies will be provided, so volunteers need only to bring their energy and passion to serve the community.
The day's events will conclude with an outdoor kickoff luncheon from 12:30- 2 p.m. During the luncheon 2006 donors and volunteers will be recognized, and 2007 kickoff donors will be invited to make their pledges by the campaign co-chairs, Ermin Boschulte and Alicia Boatwright. Over one-third of the funds raised through the 2006 campaign were generated at the kickoff event last year, during which over 40 organizations and individuals pledged $2,000 or more.
The 2007 campaign seeks to raise an additional $40,000 above and beyond what was raised last year. "In order to provide a consistent level of services year after year to those who need them most, many of our agencies are dependent on increases in funding to help offset inflation and the ever-escalating demand for services. Additionally, we were delighted to bring in Habitat for Humanity this year, and we'll need to raise the funds to support this new United Way agency," said Boatwright.
The 2007 fundraising campaign will officially begin on Oct. 1. The campaign will build on the momentum that began last year with the theme: Your Islands, Your Home, Your United Way. All funds raised here stay here to directly serve the St. Thomas and St. John communities. To raise the additional funds needed to achieve the goal, the organization is working to persuade past donors to give more this year and to attract new contributors to its Pacesetter program that recognizes donors of $500 or more. It will also continue to highlight the benefits of giving through payroll deduction, a program in which over 120 employers across St. Thomas and St. John participate. Donors now also have the option to give online through United Way's Web site www.unitedway.vi.
To learn more about the joint Day of Caring /2007 Campaign Kickoff event or to sign up as a Day of Caring volunteer, call the United Way office at 774-3185.

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