To mark its 100th anniversary, the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley recently launched the Lehigh Valley Century Challenge.
Paul Hurd, vice president for resource development for the organization, said the Century Challenge was the idea of this year’s campaign chairman, Bill Spence, chairman, president and CEO of PPL Corp., and Spence’s wife, Denise.
The idea is that area corporations such as PPL, Air Products, Crayola, Dual Temp., BB&T, Capital BlueCross and a handful of anonymous donors would pledge $1 million in total in matching donations for all new or increased donations to the United Way’s 2017 campaign in the Lehigh Valley.
“Once Bill and Denise came to us with the idea, it didn’t take much to get it started,” Hurd said. “This is a great idea.”
PPL pledged the first $500,000 for the campaign and the others came together to bring in a pledge of up to $1 million to encourage more people to donate to the campaign.
Hurd explained how the challenge works.
“If you are a nondonor [last year] and you give $100, we’ll match that $100 donation,” he said. “If you gave $100 last year and give $200 this year, we’ll match that [new] $100.”
Essentially, United Way looks at a spreadsheet of what people gave in 2016 compared to 2017 and the fund matches any new or increased amount.
Hurd said the challenge can grow donations even more because many companies, such as Air Products, already offer a matching donation when an employee makes a charitable donation.
So, a dollar-for-dollar match from an employer to that employee’s donation of $100 could equal a total $300 in donations when the challenge funds are added.
Hurd said most United Way campaigns are run through companies, but individuals can make donations to the campaign, as well.
He said the Century Challenge campaign has had a strong start. It has so far matched $400,000 in new or increased donations.
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