Challenges don’t diminish confidence in campaign

NAUGATUCK — The United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls’ annual campaign is facing some challenges, but Executive Director Lisa Shappy has confidence in the campaign team.

“This year has been more challenging,” Shappy said. “It’s been harder to get people to commit. I think it’s just a sign of the times.”

The United Way is currently in the midst of its annual campaign, which kicked off in September. The campaign goal is $420,000 this year. As of last week, the United Way had raised 44 percent of the goal.

Shappy aims to be at 75 to 80 percent of goal the end of the year. This year, she said, the United Way is projecting to be at 60 to 70 percent after December.

“There’s been some challenges, and I know our campaign team is working very hard to try and open up other opportunities,” Shappy said.

Shappy said the United Way is in a time of transition. There has been an attrition of smaller businesses and individual donors that have historically given to the United Way. She added there is slight uncertainty with how the pending merger of Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan, one the United Way’s top corporate givers, and Liberty Bank will impact the organization.

Shappy said both banks are ardent supporters of the United Way, but the organization isn’t sure what, if any, impact there’ll be from the merger.

The campaign team, led by campaign chair Pat Peterson, is working to meet the challenges.

Shappy said the team is networking to get new corporate giving accounts and planning to enhance special fundraising events.

“I’m very excited for our campaign team,” Shappy said. “They’re motivated; they know the challenges we’re facing and they’re working very hard to try and offset as much as we can.”

One of those upcoming special events is the annual Festival of Trees.

The festival features decorated Christmas trees and wreaths donated by organizations and individuals that are auctioned off to benefit the United Way. A reception is Dec. 4 at Ion Bank, 87 Church St. The following week people can visit the bank to view the trees and bid on them.

The annual campaign raises funds that the United Way distributes to partner agencies to help pay for programs that make an impact in the community. Out of every dollar raised, 80 cents goes back into the community.

“When you support United Way you give to a variety of programs that help people in different areas of their life,” Shappy said.

Shappy encouraged those who can’t give financially to support community organizations any way they can.

“In the grand scheme of things, we’re all trying to address the same needs,” Shappy said. “We’re all trying to help those who need it.”

For information about the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls or how to donate to the campaign, visit

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