Companies donating more as goal nears

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When Ed Presnell heard the United Way of the CSRA needed just $71,792 more to reach its annual fundraising goal, he went back to his corporate board.

Two days later, SRP Federal Credit Union plunked down another $1,000 pledge.

"My thought is they're only $71,000 short, it just seemed reasonable," said Presnell, SRP's vice president of administrative services. "If you looked around that room (at the United Way awards ceremony), if every company there just gave $1,000, we'd have it."

United Way's 2010 campaign came within inches of its $4.2 million goal and now is running in overtime. At last week's annual lunch meeting and awards ceremony, the agency announced it would extend its campaign by a week in hopes of pushing the red ink on the campaign thermometer to the top.

Several companies and individuals gave new donations immediately. Others asked United Way to keep the campaign open a few more weeks so they could meet with their boards. Agency President Laverne Gold now says she will announce the campaign's final results after March 21.

Frank Mulherin, the president of the Augusta Rotary Club, said he is meeting with his board next week.

"Our club is going to step up with a contribution to help, and we would love to issue a challenge to other CSRA civic clubs to do the same," he said.

Service is the lifeblood of Rotary, and supporting United Way is an avenue to do that, he said.

United Way funds 40 health and human programs in the area through partner agencies such as Boys and Girls Clubs, the American Red Cross of Augusta, the Salvation Army and Safe Homes of Augusta. Because of the recession, the community's needs are as great as ever, Gold said.

"We just have more agencies that are asking for more. Because of the way the economy is, there are more people at their doors," she said.

Presnell said, "They need it. And to get this close out of a recession, there's no excuse not to reach this goal. We're all community-minded people."

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