"Close enough to call!" Mike Hostovich, director of the United Fund of Warren County said on Thursday while hoisting Gary Lester up to place the last "Smiling Heart" on the 2012 Torchlight Campaign goal sign.
"Even though we are still dotting some "i's" on a few outstanding commitments, I am confident that we have reached and even slightly exceeded our $645,000.00 goal. That actual final number will be revealed at the annual Appreciation Luncheon," Hostovich said. "Reaching our goal once again, while the economy is still trying to decide what it wants to do, speaks volumes for the continued generosity of businesses and donors throughout Warren County."
Reaching the goal would not have happened, he added, without the efforts and dedication of campaign committee members, especially the energy generated by this year's returning co-chairs, Sonia Probst and Gary Lester.
Times Observer photo by Ben Klein
Mike Hostovich, left, director of the United Fund of Warren County, Gary Lester and Sonia Probst, 2012 Torchlight Campaign co-chairs, place the last “Smiling Heart” on the 2012 Torchlight Campaign goal sign on Thursday.
"Once again I am humbled by this community's generosity to the 21 agencies supported through the United Fund of Warren County," Probst said. "Apparently people understand the importance of the services provided by these agencies! Without them, many folks would suffer unmet medical, social, and emotional problems. So, 'hats off' to the campaign committees who gathered donations from so many generous businesses and individuals. Sincere 'thanks' to all who contributed! And a special 'shout out' to Mike Hostovich, who is now '10 for 10' in successful United Fund campaigns. It has been a privilege to serve with Mike and my co-chair, Gary Lester, for the past two campaigns."
"I echo Sonia's comments," Lester said. "It has been great working with her and Mike for the past two years. I thought I had a decent understanding of the United Fund and its agencies, but the more I learned about the dedicated volunteers, dedicated agency staff members, and the services provided, the more amazed I became. An incredible amount of good work is done by this group. People who support the campaign by volunteering and contributing are certainly a blessing to agencies under the United Fund umbrella and that generosity allows us to be a blessing to needy, struggling folks in the community. I offer sincere thanks to everyone who participated."
Hostovich said the United Fund has an edge over most fund-raising organization because it can boast that 100 percent of campaign donations received are distributed to its partner agencies. That is possible because of endowments established through the Community Foundation of Warren County that cover all administrative and campaign expenses.
"This certainly has been helpful in our fund-raising efforts over the years," he said.
"Help Us...Help Them...SMILE" has been the campaign theme for the United Fund Torchlight Campaigns over the past several years. "Reaching our goal will not only bring some smiles to the human service organizations that comprise the United Fund Membership," Hostovich said. "But more importantly, this news should help bring smiles to the many people throughout Warren County who benefit from the many services and programs provided by these dedicated agencies."
Local United Fund partner agencies who will receive funding from the 2012 Torchlight Campaign this year are the Warren Chapter of the American Red Cross, A Safe Place, Allegheny Community Center, Bollinger Enterprises, Inc., Boy Scouts, Caring For Life, Crescent Park Clinic, Don Mills Achievement Center, Family Services, Girl Scouts, Hospice of Warren County, Jefferson DeFrees Family Center, New Hope Assistance Dogs, Inc., R.S.V.P., Ruth M. Smith Center, The Salvation Army, Sheffield Area Hospitality Center, YMCA, Youth Volunteer Corps and the 4-H Program of Warren County.
"The United Fund of Warren County, its board of directors and the member agencies would like to express their sincere appreciation to all the donors and volunteers who made the Torchlight Campaign successful," added Hostovich. Committee members, as well as business and community volunteers, will be acknowledged at the Appreciation Luncheon this spring.