Northern Berkshire United Way Executive Director Joseph McGovern welcomed 150 people to a breakfast celebrating the conclusion of its annual campaign.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire United Way came very close to meeting its annual campaign goal this year.
At a campaign celebration at the Williams Inn on Friday morning, campaign Chairman Tom Rumbolt announced that the organization had raised $520,000. Its goal was $560,000.
Rumbolt opened his announcement with a quote by American writer Robert Brault: "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were big things."
This was applicable to the campaign, Rumbolt said, because past donations of $35,000 or $40,000 that had seemed "little" at the time now seem like big losses.
"One donor in particular we can't help but notice is North Adams Regional Hospital," said Rumbolt, who said the hospital's closure in March eliminated it as a donor. "You realize now how big the little things they did were."
That loss was evident this year, after the 2013 campaign delivered more than the $550,000 goal.
Still, NBUW is dedicated to helping its 22 member agencies, many of whom are also experiencing rough times, by actually slightly increasing its allocation pool, board President Amy Giroux said.
"It's the amazing work you do that gives the NBUW our purpose," she said.
One of those agencies, Berkshire Community Action Council, was highlighted at the breakfast when employee Mindy Shoestock spoke to the 150 people gathered there about how the BCAC, with the support of the United Way, has helped her become a better person. A single mother of three, Shoestock said she was working in many seasonal and service industry jobs but longed to give her children a more stable home. After volunteering with BCAC, she applied for an open position and was accepted, and now she has a job she loves that she can inspire her own children with.
"If I can be successful, anyone can," she said. "You just have to never give up."
That kind of spirit embodies the NBUW's member agencies, Executive Director Joseph McGovern said.
"We are truly making a difference," he said. "North County residents truly come through for each other."
After the breakfast, McGovern said that sense of community is especially apparent in that NBUW came so close to its goal, which he said was an amazing feat.
"There were a lot of challenges this year," he said. "We feel really good about what we achieved."