BG CareNet - NL

The Frederick Strong: 72 Hours of Caring for Marriage and Families campaign failed to reach its $40,000 fundraising goal. The money was to be split between Care Net Pregnancy Center of Frederick, at left, and the Marriage Resource Center.

A joint fundraiser for two Frederick family service agencies fell short of its goal despite extending the length of the campaign.

The Frederick Strong: 72 Hours of Caring for Marriage and Families campaign raised $30,794 as of Oct. 31, according to Chris Bugher, executive director of the Marriage Resource Center of Frederick County. The fundraiser, originally billed as a three-day campaign extended for six weeks, aimed to raise $40,000, which was to have been split between the Marriage Resource Center and Care Net Pregnancy Center of Frederick.

Both Bugher and Linda King, Care Net’s executive director, said they were disappointed that they did not meet their fundraising goal. But they noted the support of those who donated — seven churches, six businesses, two foundations and more than 40 individuals.

“We were very encouraged by what we did receive, especially in such a [relatively] short period of time,” King said. “We had a real outpouring of support.”

The two organizations announced the joint campaign in July after both were excluded from the 2017 Unity Campaign for Frederick County, an annual countywide fundraiser for social service agencies. Both Care Net and the Marriage Resource Center have been recipients of the Unity Campaign and one of its predecessors, Frederick 48, in years past.

They were not included in this year’s Unity campaign because the programs for which they sought funding did not meet the priority focuses of basic, emergency human needs and at-risk youth, according to Ken Oldham, executive director of United Way of Frederick County, which organized the Unity Campaign. Both organizations were also given the chance to reapply after the initial denial, according to a United Way statement. One did not, and the other did not need money for the program that would have qualified, the release stated.

Care Net offers medical testing, support services and counseling to pregnant women and new parents. The Marriage Resource Center provides mentoring and classes to couples and families intended to foster healthy relationships.

Asked if she thought the organizations would have raised more money if they were part of Unity, Bugher said yes. Marriage Resource Center raised $32,000 when it participated in the 2016 Unity campaign, she said.

Whether Marriage Resource Center and Care Net will hold an independent fundraiser again next year will depend on what happens with Unity Campaign. United Way had encouraged Marriage Resource Center and Care Net to apply again, but awaiting further details, the groups had not decided if they would, Bugher said.

“We definitely want to be perceived as part of the fabric of Frederick’s nonprofit community,” she said.

Follow Nancy Lavin on Twitter: @NancyKLavin.

Nancy Lavin covers social services, demographics and religion for The Frederick News-Post.

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