United Way of Butler County kickstarts fundraising campaign with tricycle race

| Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The United Way of Butler County set a $1.65 million goal for its 2013-2014 fundraising campaign, despite coming up short of a similar amount in 2013.

“We know the potential's out there,” Executive Director Leslie Osche said. “We're determined to make it work this year. We just have not asked enough companies to step to the plate.”

Community leaders kicked off the annual campaign by racing tricycles in the parking lot of Baglier Buick GMC in Butler Township.

The organization challenged its board of directors to use the race as a vehicle to raise the first $10,000 of the campaign, and Osche said they came in on target.

“It was a great way to build some momentum,” Osche said.

The nonprofit organization in June announced that it had raised $1.48 million in its 2012-2013 campaign, $200,000 short of its $1.68 million goal. For 2011, the organization raised a record $1.7 million.

The main reason for the shortfall was a “significant corporate gift loss,” Osche said, along with the loss of a $55,000 state grant to help low-skill workers find employment.

The Butler County United Way had to cut funding to some organizations, Osche said.

Osche said the organization will seek financial support from firms in the manufacturing and energy sectors.

At the end of 2012, Osche said, XTO Energy gave the organization a $30,000 grant for educational programs to develop better relationships between schools and community groups.

“The companies are starting to come around,” Osche said.

The United Way of Butler County serves more than 10,000 people a year.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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