CATEGORY: EDT Editorials

AUTHOR: JOER

The United Way of Greater Lee County rarely faces choices about cutting budgets, and that is rare good fortune.

This year, however, the United Way's fundraising hasn't reached the $1.252 million goal. Pledges and collection so far come to $1.212 million about $40,000 below the target.

The United Way's board decided this week to award full funding to its agencies for the first payment period, a statement of confidence in Lee countians' commitment to the invaluable services provided by participating groups.

The board's confidence should be rewarded by an extra measure of generosity from those already giving to the United Way, and a first gift from those who haven't made a financial commitment. The United Way provides equitable and necessary funding for a wide range of agencies. It works efficiently to help people of all ages from all kinds of situations. It helps in good times and hard times through the activities of its agencies, and it uses strict standards to decide which applications will be awarded funding.

Lee County's unprecedented prosperity and a strong employment base provide a foundation from which $1.252 million should be raised with relative ease. Most people and most business donors can find extra dollars for charity, and United Way needs them.

The step of faith taken by the board draws on reserve funds limited and held for special needs like making up shortfalls. The reserves won't last, and they should not have to be used for what Lee countians should be able to raise and want to raise for United Way's agencies.

It is possible, even probable, that real budget cuts will be made if the gap between budget needs and revenues isn't closed before the next payment to agencies comes due.

The United Way serves with integrity. It needs extra help. The telephone number is 841-9133.

A few extra dollars given by a few thousand people would make up the shortfall and assure full funding for the current budget cycle.

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