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posted: 12/22/2012 8:00 AM

United Way of Elgin promotes payroll donations

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Making a $26 or a $52 lump sum charitable donation is too much for a lot families. But how much would you miss giving $1 or $2 per paycheck?

That's the concept that United Way of Elgin has been promoting as part of its annual 2012-2013 giving campaign, which has raised just over $720,000 -- about 65 percent of its $1.1 million goal -- only three months into the effort, said Elissa A. Kojzarek, resource development and special initiatives manager. Corporate and business donations also account for the giving, she said.

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This year's effort was better organized under a "campaign cabinet" model split into seven divisions and 36 or so volunteers overall, she said. So far, two new companies have signed up for employee giving through payroll deductions, and a few more are in the pipeline, Kojzarek said. Altogether, about 250 companies donate to the agency, most of them through a combination of employee giving and company donations, she said.

"The ability to do it on our payroll deduction makes it easy and rewarding for an employee," said campaign co-chair Dan Walter, a partner at Lundstrom Insurance in Elgin. "You can be part of the community by giving to the community, but you don't have to sit down and write out a check every month."

United Way of Elgin funds about 20 agencies' programs, including domestic violence programs, senior services, the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin, tax assistance programs, and more. This week, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation gave a $25,000 grant to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program, which sends free books to Elgin area children up to age 5.

Soliciting donations is all about explaining that United Way of Elgin funds programs used by a lot of people, said co-chair Glenn Murphy, an Elgin resident who is semiretired.

"What you're really selling is how United Way is directly involved in the Elgin area, and in some surrounding areas like Burlington, Pingree Grove and others."

The organization has raised just over $1 million for the last four or five years, down from a high of $2 million or so in the late 1990s, Kojzarek said.

Interested individuals can donate to United Way of Elgin at uwelgin.org/give-donateor by calling (847) 741-2259. Companies interested giving a corporate gifts or running employee campaigns can contact Christina Pearson at (847) 741-2259.

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