The Mesa United Way is a little over a quarter of the way toward reaching its $4 million goal for the campaign that started in September and continues through May 2010.
“It’s a start, and we have a long way to go,” said Carol McCormack, executive director of the Mesa United Way.
“The services that we fund have had so many issues arise in terms of the ability to raise funds. Donations are down when the need is up. It’s a difficult place for all of us to be in.”
United Way officials are hopeful that recent changes to the working poor tax credit will help the campaign continue successfully.
As of Wednesday, the working poor tax credit has simply become dollar-for-dollar, up to $200 per person and $400 per couple. For example, if you owe the state of Arizona $500 in taxes and you give $200 to the United Way as an individual, the state will receive $300 dollars, similar to school tax credits.
“It’s very significant — we’re hoping it will cause an influx of donations,” McCormack said.
Past yearly campaign donations have reached $5 million, but with the state of the economy, McCormack said the Mesa United Way is doing its best to be realistic. Last year, the United Way raised $3.6 million.
Donations go to local agencies such as food banks, children’s centers, family shelters and programs such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The bulk of donations come from employee campaigns and pledge cards.
“If 100 people sign up to donate $10 or $20 of their paycheck and they get paid 26 times a year, that’s $26,000,” McCormack said. “It all adds up.”
Donations can be made at mesaunitedway.org. Checks can be sent to 137 E. University Drive, Mesa, AZ, 85213. Stocks and securities can be arranged by calling (480) 969-8601.
“It’s very exciting for us. This time between now and Christmas is when people decide to give,” McCormack said. “We’re just very hopeful that people will choose to give to their community and community services.”