Worrisome news is coming from the United Way of Central Maryland. Only days before the end of its fund-raising drive, the non-profit organization reports having collected less than $19 million of its $34.7 million goal. With a recession threatening, this could not come at a worse time.
If anything, economic adversity increases the need for and reliance upon services provided by the United Way and the 100 health and human service organization it funds. Those organizations deal with virtually every facet of human need in Baltimore City and the five surrounding counties: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard. They combat illiteracy and substance abuse, provide day care for children, help the shut-in elderly with home-delivered meals and take care of victims of homelessness, domestic violence and AIDS. The list goes on and on. Yet contributions this year "are coming in slower than we had hoped," reports Henry A. Rosenberg Jr., chairman of the 1990 campaign.
The United Way fund drive runs through next Tuesday. There is still time to turn it into a success that can adequately take care of the community's needs. Pledge cards allow for unprecedented flexibility. Donors can adopt a United Way agency -- or even earmark their contributions to an agency that does not belong to the United Way. Many donors take advantage of the fact that as charitable contributions, United Way gifts are tax deductible.
Despite the uncertain economic outlook, several employee campaigns have registered hefty increases in giving. Employee giving at Provident Bank is up 15 percent, at Carroll County Bank up 19 percent. Employees of Howard County General Hospital have increased their giving by 35 percent. At Anne Arundel Community College, donations are up by 43 percent.
The important thing is the act of giving. Sharing life's blessings with the unfortunate is a decision that benefits both donor and recipient.