Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Charities Also in Need of Some Help

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Charities Also in Need of Some Help

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton, Times-Union columnist

Last spring, when I was invited to become part of the annual Kiss the Pig contest, I had some concerns.

The contest is a charity fund-raiser for Learn to Read Inc., a program that teaches adults to read. It's a good cause. That wasn't one of my concerns.

What first worried me was that I'm a lousy fund-raiser. But then my friend Robin Hughes, who is a wonderful fund-raiser, agreed to manage my campaign. That worried me even more. The person who raises the most money in the Kiss the Pig campaign has to kiss a pig. Which I don't want to do.

Still, I worried less about the pig once Steve Ramsey of CSX Transportation announced he planned to raise more money than the rest of us combined -- Brandy Hilboldt Allport of the Times-Union; attorney John R. Jolly; David Lamm of WFXJ (930 AM); Torri Lilly, a Florida Community College at Jacksonville dean; attorney Moses Meide; and John Radcliffe of the Duval County school system.

Then came Sept. 11. The response to the terrorist attacks has been another stunning demonstration of the generosity of the American people. According to The New York Times, more than $1.2 billion has been raised by about 180 charitable groups, by far the largest response to a single disaster in American history.

But that has posed a potential problem for local fund-raisers, from me asking people to give me money to help Learn to Read, to Connie Hodges, executive director of United Way of Northeast Florida, which is in the middle of a campaign to raise $19.3 million.

The problem: Will there be any money left to give to local non-profit groups that depend heavily on fund-raising to support their work?

Hodges admits she's concerned. She's concerned that a troubled economy made weaker by the events of Sept. …

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