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United Way kicks off St. Lawrence County campaign Monday

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CANTON — Hoping to boost donations, the United Way of Northern New York is scheduled to kick off its 2013-2014 St. Lawrence County campaign Monday.

The event marks the first time in several years that a separate kick-off event will be held for St. Lawrence County.

Executive Director Robert D. Gorman and Joseph L. Kennedy, county campaign chairman, plan to launch the fund drive during the Canton Rotary Club’s noon luncheon at the Best Western University Inn.

For years, donations from St. Lawrence County residents have been not been enough to cover funding requests from county not-for-profits.

Rather than setting a monetary goal, Mr. Gorman said the three counties in the United Way of Northern New York have been challenged to increase their numbers of donors.

This year the agency distributed $500,000 to 40 not-for-profit groups in the three-county region including 16 in St. Lawrence County.

However, funding requests totaled $750,000, creating a gap. Roughly 250,000 people reside in the three counties, with about 4,500 contributing to United Way. “That’s a number that a lot of people are shocked to hear,” Mr. Gorman said. “My goal is to increase that number by 1,000.”

Donors whose employers partner with United Way can contribute through payroll deductions. A food drive and a program to address domestic violence are also planned.

The United Way has contracted with former NFL player Joe Ehrmman, who will speak in Canton April 6 and 7 as part of the Victims Rights Week organized by Catholic Charities and Renewal House. Mr. Ehrmann speaks to coaches about turning boys into the kind of men all communities would like to have.

Mr. Gorman said the Canton Veterans of Foreign Wars offered to cover the cost of lunch for nonprofit agencies to send representatives to Monday’s kick-off event.

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