United Way raises $480,000

Last week the Tiffin-Seneca United Way ended its annual fundraising campaign, and raised more than $480,000 for the community.

The campaign, which ended March 31, fell short of its $500,000 goal by 4 percent.

“We wanted to set our goal based on the needs that we have,” campaign chair Kelly Hohman said. “The needs in our community don’t go away, so we didn’t think it was a good idea to lower our goal from $500,000.”

Hohman said despite falling short of the goal, she is not disappointed with the results.

“It would’ve been nice to hit 100 percent, but I think raising $480,000 for our community is nothing to complain about,” she said.

Vice chair of the campaign, Eric Shook, said his first year working with the campaign was a great experience, and he looks forward to getting more involved next year.

“To me, it was an eye-opening experience, just to see the way the community members get involved,” Shook said.

Tiffin-Seneca United Way executive director Pat DeMonte said this year’s campaign had a great team, and Hohman and Shook were phenomenal to work with.

“It was a lot of fun this year,” DeMonte said. “You have to have a good sense of humor. To be a good leader, first off, you’ve got to be able to have fun

with what you’re doing and enjoy it and get people involved.”

Hohman said the allocations process runs today through Wednesday. The 13 primary agencies each give a presentation to the allocations committee, which consists of seven United Way board members and seven members of the community, who are active in serving and participating.

The committee then decides how to divide the undesignated funds among the agencies. Some donors designate their donations to go to a specific agency.

DeMonte said while all the agencies are important to the community, it is especially important that emergency services, safety net services and basic needs get the funds they need to operate.

“Our community would be lost without those things in place,” she said.

She said the United Way wants to focus on programs that help develop the youth in Seneca County.

In addition to the 13 primary agencies, the United Way also supports nine associate agencies. The associate agencies only get funded through designated donations.

Last year’s campaign raised $487,746.71. DeMonte said last year the United Way received two large donations that were nonrecurring.

“I’ve been here 12 and a half years and every campaign has been different because economic times are either good or bad,” DeMonte said. “And you have this continually flowing community that changes. And we’re growing; we’re getting new businesses here. That excites me that we have more people that can join us and help build our community stronger.”

The campaign raised $8,000 at events it sponsored during the year, including a cornhole tournament and an online auction, DeMonte said.

The campaign also offers the community several volunteering opportunities, such as last October’s Day of Caring.

The Tiffin-Seneca United Way’s annual meeting and volunteer recognition will be May 16 at North Central Ohio Educational Service Center.

This year’s theme was “You can be a super-hero when you give, advocate or volunteer,” DeMonte said.