Kauai United Way sets campaign goal of $550,000

LIHU’E – Think of tax-deductible donations to the Kauai United Way like payment of premiums on a life-insurance policy, says Loretta C. Geis, the agency’s campaign and community service liaison.

Paying life-insurance premiums ensures that coverage is in place when it’s needed. Giving to the Kauai United Way ensures that the beneficiary agencies will be there for you if you are ever in need, Geis explained to around 30 members of the Lihue Business Association recently.

“We have all been touched by one agency or another,” she said of the 22 member agencies from A (American Heart Association) to Y (YWCA of Kauai).

“Give what you can. Contribute to your island,” said Geis, announcing that this fall’s annual campaign goal is $550,000, the same goal as last year.

If every worker on the island gave just $1 per paycheck to Kauai United Way, the agency would raise over $1 million a year, she said.

Kauai United Way, addressing social needs on the island since 1946, is the only Kaua’i-based charity where every dollar raised here remains on the island, and the only one given permission to go into local businesses to make campaign pitches, she said.

Donations can be through payroll deduction (the most painless way, she said), one-time contributions, charged to credit cards, or billed on a quarterly basis.

“Please participate, because the money is very much needed on our island,” Geis continued.

Normally, an early September huge event heralds the beginning of the campaign, but this year four, smaller, regional kickoffs are planned, at Princeville, Lihu’e, Po’ipu and Waimea.

The $550,000 goal for 2001 was met, and after Sept. 11 Kauai United Way Executive Director Scott N. Giarman was able to secure an additional $400,000 in funding to assist agencies with assisting those who felt economic hardships associated with the severe drop in visitor arrivals and the attending job losses and cutting of worker hours especially by those in the visitor industry, Geis explained.

“We never know what tomorrow will bring,” she said. Needs change, and contributing to the Kauai United Way is a means of helping less-fortunate Kauaians, Geis added.

She suggested that businesses get a campaign coordinator named in the workplace, in preparation for next month’s campaign kickoffs.

Local nonprofits may qualify for Kauai United Way funding by showing a two-year history on the island, and providing proof of having federal nonprofit, tax-exempt status (410-c-3).

Some agencies depend heavily on Kauai United Way funding, and could not exist without that funding, according to the Kauai United Way 2002 Agency Directory.

Several of the agencies funded locally are involved in specific health issues, like the American Heart Association, Hemophilia Foundation of Hawaii (bleeding disorders), Malama Pono The HIV Service Agency of Kaua’i, and PALS/PATS (Pets Are Loving Support and Providing Pet-Assisted Therapy), which provide pet-assisted therapy to patients in long-term care and to people with disabilities, and pet-care services to people who are sick, elderly or dying. Both are programs of the Kauai Humane Society.

Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs of Hawaii, Hawaii Children’s Theatre, Kaua’i branch of the Hawaii Association for the Education of Young Children, and other participating agencies work with the island’s younger citizens.

For more information, please call 245-2043, fax 246-8738, or e-mail uwok@aloha.net. The Kauai United Way offices remain in the Lihue Plantation Building, room 113, behind First Hawaiian Bank and the Lihu’e post office.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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