The United Way of Frederick County’s Unity Campaign exceeded its fundraising goal for the second-straight year, collecting more than $505,250 for local nonprofits.
“I’m just thrilled to break the half-million dollar mark,” Ken Oldham, United Way of Frederick County CEO, said. “I think it speaks well to the communities and these nonprofits.”
The Unity Campaign was a 12-day fundraising effort in September that benefits 31 local nonprofit organizations. Last year, the event generated $447,074.
This year’s goal was $475,000.
Elizabeth Chung, Asian American Center of Frederick president, said the campaign allows her organization to provide important resources to the community for free, such as naturalization services. Heritage events sponsored by the nonprofit are an important bridge between Asian and American cultures, she said.
“As a nonprofit organization, we provide quite a wide range of programs and services and many of these are not funded by any source,” Chung said. “The money from Unity Campaign is our main source of operating dollars.”
Social services organizations and charities like the Asian American Center of Frederick can often struggle to get funding for basic operating costs, such as buying paper, paying utility bills and funding staff salaries. The Unity Campaign allows the nonprofits to choose what the funding is used for.
For example, the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County will use half of its money to improve its Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program for children. Lisa McDonald, Boys & Girls Club executive director, said the other half of the money will go toward operating costs. The campaign was a chance to showcase her organization’s work.
The Unity Campaign “lets us reach out to people that we might not have been in contact with before,” McDonald said. “It also presents an opportunity for our current donors to stretch their donation even more with the incentive match.”
Each individual contribution to the Unity Campaign was partially matched by campaign sponsors.
The Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County led the individual fundraising total by raising $101,455. The second highest total was raised by Blessings in a Backpack with $48,096. The Asian American Center of Frederick generated $40,445. Donors had the option to either donate to the campaign as a whole or to specific nonprofit organizations.
Oldham said the success of the campaign shows the Frederick community’s commitment to its neighbors.
“I think it’s a real opportunity to show cooperation in the nonprofit sector. This was 31 nonprofits pooling their resources together,” Oldham said.
The campaign began in 2014 and until 2017 was hosted through The Community Foundation of Frederick County. The Frederick News-Post is an in-kind sponsor of the campaign.