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Team up with United Way

A lot of people were probably surprised last year when officials with the United Way of Denton County announced that they would not set a campaign goal as they had in previous years.

Many of us had grown accustomed to tracking the progress of fundraising efforts using giant thermometers or other graphic devices. No target number meant no scale on which to chart donations.

But the break with tradition evidently paid off. By visiting with companies that conducted campaigns, United Way leaders learned that what people cared about most were community needs, said Gary Henderson, president and CEO of the United Way of Denton County.

“We’re finding that they’re happy talking about needs in the community rather than goals and numbers,” Henderson told us. “They want to hear more about their community and how they can help.”

That makes sense to us. We believe the generous people of Denton County will find a way to help if you show them what needs to be done.

Henderson said the approach has contributed to “stronger giving” this year. Fundraising for the United Way of Denton County’s 2012 campaign, which began in July, has topped $900,000, with about three months left in this year’s drive, he told us.

“That’s slightly ahead of last year,” he said. “We’re pleased with the progress so far, but we have a long way to go.”

The United Way of Denton County concluded the 2011 year with more than $1.8 million in donations and pledges. Currently, fundraising is about 5 percent ahead of where it stood at this point last year and is also slightly ahead of what campaigns had raised at this point over the last two or three years, Henderson said.

That’s commendable, and we congratulate those who have responded to this year’s campaign. But as Henderson pointed out, more is needed.

Money raised will support United Way’s 22 partner agencies, which provide various services including mentors for at-risk youth, educational programs for young children from low-income homes and food, clothing, crisis, housing, utility and medication assistance.

We encourage you to check out some of the partner agencies — meet the people who are being helped and get a better idea of what the needs are in our community.

Like we said, we believe you’ll respond generously by teaming up with the United Way of Denton County.

It’s a partnership that works.

For more information about the United Way of Denton County, visit .