United Way Campaign Hopes to Recover Money Spent on Hurricane's

The United Way needs to raise more than $71 million this year to maintain services and recover reserve money that spent after last year's hurricane season. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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The past year was a rough one for many service based non-profit organizations. Thousands of evacuees from the Gulf Coast region required every kind of assistance. United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast President Anna Babbin says the addition of thousands of hurricane evacuees to the Houston community is an ongoing drain on non-profit dollars.

"We're helping them recertify for housing, providing case management services, mental health services and helping them really to become self-sufficient. And so if you put this in the context of this next campaign, it's really why we need to raise 71-plus million dollars because we, our community has grown and the safety net was basically stretched before the two hurricanes and it's definitely stretched now."

Around 600 corporate volunteers held a rally for the United Way's fundraising campaign. Babbin says the $71 million goal will require leadership support from major companies and upper-level donors.

"Many of our individuals are giving $1,000 and above, and we're asking folks to increase that gift. We also know that only one in seven households give to the United Way, so part of the goal would be how do you increase a household to give to the United Way."

Last year, the Houston chapter raised $67.7 million to meet their annual goal, plus an additional $7 million for hurricane relief. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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