NORWICH – High unemployment rates locally and national declines in consumer spending and charitable giving over the past 14 months appear to be slowly reversing course, according to state and national figures.
The effects of the economic downturn, however, call for the community to step up and give, local United Way and area business officials say, maybe now more than ever.
Three corporate contributors to the Chenango United Way are optimistic their office campaigns this season will match, if not exceed, last year’s fundraising goals.
Chenango United Way is looking to raise $465,000, the same amount it sought in 2008. Historically, donations from employees of local companies, done as a percentage of their weekly paychecks, comprise approximately 70 percent of that annual goal.
David Harris, manager of the Norwich NBT branch and co-chair of the bank’s countywide office campaign, said he was surprised in 2008 when employees exceeded their $57,000 goal by 14 percent. This year, they’ve set the bar at $60,000.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that we’ll see the same response this year; that people in a position to give will step up,” said Harris. “We’re very fortunate. Our employees continue to support it.”