It may be fairly said that an important measure of the quality of a community is the way in which it joins together to take care of children, the elderly and those who are less fortunate.
By that yardstick, Frederick County has come off pretty well in recent years. The annual Unity campaign last year raised more than half a million dollars to support a variety of nonprofit groups who take care of others.
The United Way of Frederick County, which runs the campaign and selects the nonprofits that will benefit, last week announced the 32 partner organizations for this year. The campaign itself will begin in September, but it is never too early to begin discussing the good work being done on behalf of and in the name of our whole community.
Last year, the Unity Campaign raised $509,891 for 31 partner nonprofits. This year, the goal increased to $525,000. If you think about it, that is just $2 for every man, woman and child in the county. That does not seem like much of a sacrifice.
The Unity Campaign was started in 2014 and is based on two earlier fundraising efforts — Frederick48, a 48-hour campaign, and The News-Post’s own Season of Hope campaign, which was conducted during the holiday season.
The United Way website explains:
“When county funding for our local nonprofits were being eliminated, an effort was begun to ‘fill the gap’ by raising funds from the Frederick Community … Starting in 2017, the Unity Campaign became an annual project of United Way of Frederick County.”
The major focus of the Unity Campaign is to help support the working poor families of Frederick County, of which there are an alarmingly large number.
Again, this from the United Way website:
“The Unity Campaign has a clear and vital mission to support local nonprofits who serve ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households in need of food, shelter, clothing, financial sustainability and healthcare as well as at-risk children and youth.”
These families face an uncertain economic future, and are often one illness or one unexpected emergency away from a crisis. The head of the household and frequently other family members are employed, but they work in low-paying jobs, and they have few or no assets such as a savings account to help in emergencies.
We will be writing more about the needs in our county as the campaign approaches, but we want to start giving our readers the information they will need to decide to make this a big success.