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Opinion

July 11, 2013

United Way campaigns

NORMAN — Norman’s annual United Way drive kicked off in an electrifying manner Wednesday afternoon. Campaign chairs James Chappel and John Koons, both local OG&E employees, brought in their boss to motivate the audience of Pacesetter Companies.

Those companies provide about half of the campaign’s support. They include major business interests that are always at the table supporting local causes.

Pete Delaney, the president and CEO of OG&E, came to Norman to boost the efforts of Mr. Chappel and Mr. Koons. We think it’ll be an exciting campaign with expectations to reach the $2.05 million goal. The goal hasn’t changed from last year, but the needs seem to be rising annually.

This year, United Way has pledged to fund 45 programs from 29 social and human service organizations in Fiscal Year 2013-2014, which began July 1. This includes eight new programs this year.

This year’s campaign will be a challenge. Worthy tornado relief efforts have drained discretionary funds from many individuals and businesses. It’s already a tough time for nonprofits as governments and companies tighten belts.

But past campaigns also have had their share of challenges, too. Norman residents know agencies often rely on that United Way check to keep the doors open each month. The 29 agencies funded have their own donor lists and fundraising activities, but the United Way is often a safety net for their operations.

If the excitement from Mr. Chappel and Mr. Koons and the Pacesetter company representatives is a bellwether of success, then we’re confident the goal will be reached.

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