SCHUYLKILL HAVEN – As he opened the envelope containing the grand pledge total for the 2010 Schuylkill United Way General Campaign, Chairman Mike Tobash said he was looking for two commas.
Those punctuation marks meant the Schuylkill Campaign had reached its $1 million goal.
Tobash found his commas, as he announced the campaign total of $1,030,000 during the Schuylkill United Way's Appreciation Breakfast, held Friday morning at the R. Michael Fryer Conference Center on the Schuylkill Campus of Penn State.
It is the third year in a row, beginning with the 2008 campaign, that the Schuylkill campaign has garnered $1 million in pledges, according to Kelly Malone, United Way executive director.
"It is a humbling number, and it is amazing how hard everyone worked," said Tobash, of the Tobash Insurance Agency, Hegins.
The 2010 Tamaqua Area Campaign, which is part of the Schuylkill effort, also hit its mark.
Allen Keich, Tamaqua Area chairman, announced that $145,967 was raised, good for 121.7 percent of the goal of $120,000.
"I'm in the clear this year," joked Keich after he read the total, then added, in all seriousness, "it's because of the hard working and determined volunteers that make this all worthwhile.
"I knew that this group would come through, even in a tough time, and I appreciate the support from all of the tireless volunteers," Keich mentioned.
The Countywide Campaign, not including Tamaqua, raised $884,033, or 100.5 percent of its $880,000 goal.
The totals from the Tamaqua Area Campaign divisions were as follows: special gifts, $48,884; industrial, $79,913; business, $7,525; Tamaqua Borough, $1,708; clubs, $1,968; state, $500; schools, $565; clergy, $105; and townships and residential, $4,799.
The Pacesetters Club for 2010 has 320 enrolled to date with pledges of $500 or more, totaling $283,000.
The John E. Morgan Foundation once again pledged $25,000 in matching funds, resulting in $37,000 in new money.
This year's Clare J. Houser Award, presented for the largest employee campaign, was won by Wegman's, whose 320 employees raised over $63,000. Air Products and Chemicals, Hometown, won the award last year.
"I guess we have to add another golf tournament," said Tom Cara of Air Products, with a laugh; Air Products already holds two golf tourneys for the United Way.
The money raised from the United Way campaign stays in the county to help its member agencies.
"This means more people will be served, and in this economy, there are more people than ever that need to be helped," said Malone.
Schuylkill agencies helped by United Way funding include Tamaqua Area Meals on Wheels, the Tamaqua Salvation Army, Tamaqua YMCA, Child Development, Inc., the American Red Cross of Schuylkill and E. Northumberland Counties, Avenues, Big Brother Big Sister of Schuylkill County, Boys Scout of America/Hawk Mountain Council, and Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pa.
Also helped were the Pottsville Salvation Army, Schuylkill County Society for Crippled Children, Schuylkill Wellness Services, Schuylkill Women in Crisis, the Schuylkill YMCA and the YWCA of Pottsville.
Eric Hollen will serve as the 2011 Schuylkill General Campaign chairman, while Joseph Pilla of ETA Benefits Group, Tamaqua, will head next year's Tamaqua Area campaign.