A little over two months into its annual fund-raising campaign, the United Way of Ventura County is already more than a quarter of the way to its goal of raising $5.5 million.
"We're right on track," said Tim McCallion, a United Way volunteer who co-chairs the campaign.
McCallion and about 100 other volunteers, donors and representatives of the groups that receive donations gathered Thursday at the Oxnard Hilton Inn to go over progress of this year's fund-raising effort.
Since the campaign kicked off in early September, the group has raised $1,444,770--or about 26% of its goal--for the 1995-96 fund-raising period, said Debbie Giles, communication director for the local United Way.
Contributions to the United Way of Ventura County are funneled to 62 local agencies that provide dozens of services including youth programs, efforts to stop gang violence, psychological counseling, provisions for food and shelter, and rehabilitation programs.
This year, the group wants to focus on child abuse, juvenile delinquency and gang activity, said Priscilla Partridge de Garcia, another volunteer who heads the charity's fund-raising effort. Partridge de Garcia works as a clinical psychologist and runs the job re-entry center at Oxnard College.
"We see this as preventative," she said. "Ventura County doesn't have the problems other counties have, and I think people want to keep it that way."
About 38% of the group's donations go to youth organizations such as the various Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the county, Partridge de Garcia said.
United Way directors are continuing their strategy of dividing the county by region, and then tapping prominent local people to head fund-raising drives in each area. Those individuals each make up to a dozen or more contacts asking friends or acquaintances to start fund-raising drives where they work.
The organization raises about 90% of its money in this way, most coming from individual employees with some additional contributions made by the businesses themselves.
This year the group expanded its funding base by targeting small businesses as well as large corporations with great success, Partridge de Garcia said.
"I think they've always been eager to give, it's just nobody had asked before," she said.
Although the campaign is nearly over by the end of March, donations continue to trickle in until June, she said.