The First Unity Campaign for Frederick County has raised more than $136,000

Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2014 

By Laura Dukes News-Post Staff | 0 comments 

The first Unity Campaign for Frederick County has raised more than $136,000, and donations are still coming in.

The campaign, launched Nov. 19, allowed the public to donate directly to local organizations that provide basic human needs of food, shelter and clothing, as well as services to at-risk youth. Seventeen county nonprofits participated. 

The organization to receive the most donations was the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs, which brought in about $32,000. The two runners-up were the St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. John Conference, and the Frederick Rescue Mission, which received more than $17,000 and $9,000, respectively.

People were able to donate through local churches,UnityFrederick.com and Frederick County Bank branches. The Frederick News-Post, Funds for Causes, Frederick County Bank, The Community Foundation of Frederick County, Natelli Communities and Frederick magazine sponsored the campaign. It was formed by merging two existing fundraisers, the FNP Season of Hope and Frederick48.

Joe Gatewood, with Funds for Causes, is chairman of the campaign. He initially hoped it would bring in $300,000, as Frederick48 raised more than $285,000 in 2013 for 23 nonprofits. Gatewood said he was pleased with $136,000, especially since the campaign had a late start. 

"I'm more happy with how all these nonprofits came together," he said.

He expects the campaign to have a second year in 2015 and said a meeting will be held in mid-January to make a final decision. The first Unity Campaign was a learning experience, he said.

"It was really starting from scratch," he said. "That's why we're excited about next year because we know what works."

The most effective means of fundraising seemed to be through local churches, he said, crediting the Religious Coalition with using its church network. Gatewood hopes to strengthen the component of getting businesses to provide matching funds for individual donors, he said.

"I think a lot of these things need a good six months," he said, so the next Unity Campaign should get an earlier start.

The Rev. Brian Scott, executive director of the Religious Coalition, said the money raised for his organization would be split two ways. One half will go to the Alan P. Linton Jr. Emergency Shelter and Emergency Family Shelter. The shelters cost about $700 per night to stay open, Scott said.

The second half will go toward the coalition's homeless prevention initiatives, which often mean providing families with rent assistance to keep them from being evicted, Scott said. That usually costs about $500 per family.

"Without that, we would probably see numbers of homelessness double in Frederick County," Scott said.

The Religious Coalition promoted the campaign through its website, social media sites, newsletter and network of churches, Scott said.  

By Laura Dukes News-Post Staff | 0 comments 

Follow Laura Dukes on Twitter: @LauraDukesFNP.