For 55 years, the Stillwater Area United Way has raised over $14 million to help other not-for-profit organizations help area residents in need. The first campaign in 1952 raised just over $20,000.

This year’s campaign has raised 80% of this year’s $785,000 goal to fund 25 not for profit agencies. Earlier this spring, United Way volunteers met with each recipient agency to review their program and services and to review their request for funds for 2008.

“United Way funds are very important to the recipient agencies,” notes Shelley Ricker, executive director of the Stillwater Area United Way. “Each month, the agencies can count on the United Way allocation being deposited to their bank account,” she explains. “This enables the agencies to focus on providing services and not worrying so much about where the next dollar will come from,” she continues. “Some of the agencies are able to use their United Way allocations to leverage funds from other funding sources and some use United Way dollars to “fill in the gap” and help out with some necessities that may not be possible without United Way funds,” Ricker adds.

When the United Way meets and exceeds campaign goals, the additional funds are made available to the agencies for capital and technical grants or for venture grants to start new programs and services in the community. “Several of the agencies we currently fund received venture grants to start new programs or to help expand current programs,” Ricker points out. “Many United Way agency directors have expressed their gratitude to the United Way for venture grants to help their program provide services to more people in the area,” she concludes.

Agencies to receive funds in 2008 are American Red Cross, North Central Oklahoma Chapter; Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts of America, Cimarron Council; Consumer Credit Counseling, Edwin Fair Community Mental Health Center, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., Magic Empire Council; Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Life Adult Day Center, Mission of Hope Shelter, Mobile Meals of Stillwater, Payne County CASA Association, Payne County Drug Court, Payne County Family Practice, Payne County Smart Start, Payne County Youth Services, Salvation Army, Sheltered Workshop for Payne County, Starting Point II, Stillwater Community Health Center, Stillwater Domestic Violence Service, Stillwater Family YMCA, Stillwater Group Homes, Stillwater Interfaith Counseling Center, Stillwater Literacy Council and The Saville Center.

Contributions to the United Way are tax deductible as allowed by the current tax laws. The local United Way office is located at 109 E. Ninth Avenue in downtown Stillwater.

Donations may be made at the office, by mail to P. O. Box 308, 74076 and online at the secure web site www.stillwaterunitedway.org. The local United Way employs two people and utilizes hundreds of volunteers each year to help raise the funds which help local groups. Because of the volunteers who donate their time, the local administrative costs are kept low.

The local United Way accepts gifts of stock which can be a tax benefit to the donor for those stocks which has appreciated. Memorial gifts may be made to remember a loved one, also. Those being remembered will receive acknowledgment of the gift.

For more information about the Stillwater Area United Way call 377-2161.

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