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Wendy Reuer, Published September 18 2012

United Way of Cass Clay announces $5.1 million goal for 2012

FARGO – The United Way of Cass Clay kicked off its 2012 fundraising campaign Tuesday by announcing a goal of $5.1 million.

The campaign raised $5,010,429 last year, exceeding its goal of $5 million.

Olympian Dave Christian skated onto the ice at Scheels Arena to announce the start of this year’s campaign, titled “Create Everyday Miracles.”

Christian is a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that was dubbed the “Miracle Team” after defeating the Russian Nationals and taking home the gold medal.

Christian, donning a U.S. jersey and his gold medal, told the crowd that like his “miracle team,” United Way helps create miracles throughout the community.

More than 600 people attended the kick-off at the Scheels Arena in south Fargo to hear the goals of this year’s campaign. Money from the campaign will support 75 local programs within 43 nonprofit organizations.

United Way of Cass Clay President Sherri Thomsen said 4,599 backpacks full of school supplies were sent to children last year using United Way funds, and 100,000 books will be sent to local children this year as part of an initiative to encourage literacy and learning.

“There are literally thousands of miracles experienced every day in our community because of partnerships with United Way,” she said.

Kristi Huber, United Way resource development director, said just $5 a week from contributors can buy eight backpacks full of school supplies for needy children, or provide one week of shelter for a family escaping a violent situation. Just $5 can fill 61 backpacks with needed food, she said.

“We leverage your investments, multiplying the effects of your dollars,” Thomsen said.

Scheels CFO Michelle Killoran is this year’s “head coach,” or campaign chairwoman. Killoran was flanked on the ice Tuesday by this year’s offensive coach, the future 2013 campaign chairman, Jeff Thomas of Starion Financial, and Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney, the 2014 campaign chairman. Laney drew heavy cheers from the crowd as he skated onto the ice.

The goal of the campaign is to raise $5.1 million by the end of 2012. United Way Marketing and Brand Management Director Kristina Hein said results of this year’s campaign will be announced in early 2013.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530