United Way 2020 fund-raising just shy of record

SAFFORD – Residents of Graham and Greenlee counties have put their money where their mouths are throughout the pandemic.

Both the City of Safford and Graham County have reported increases in sales tax revenue, due to residents shopping local this year. And the United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties said fund-raising went equally well.

“The previous year was our record year, and we were, maybe, $50,000 short of that record (this year) during COVID and with all the layoffs,” said United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties CEO Adam O’Doherty. “We couldn’t be any more happy. The employees really stepped up.”

The local United Way doled out more than $2.2 million this year and the largest amount of funding the local agency receives comes from employees of Freeport-McMoRan, who donate a portion of each check through a payroll deduction.

“A large portion of them gave more this year than in previous years. Those Freeport-McMoRan employees are exceptional and we’re grateful to have them in our communities,” O’Doherty said.

The Freeport Foundation also matches the employee contribution.

Also participating in the campaign via payroll deduction are employees of the City of Safford and, new to 2020, were employees of UPS, Washington Federal Bank and Trophies ‘N Tees.

“We have about six we’ll be adding in 2021. We just couldn’t get them in time (for 2020) because of the payroll (timing) and training of their staff so they can see what that looks like,” O’Doherty said.

O’Doherty also reminded business owners that contributions don’t have to be payroll deductions exclusively. A single donation may be made, or a donation may be made via an in-kind service.

The United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties returns donations back into the community in support of three major areas – education, health and economic stability.

To learn more go to www.grahamgreenleeunited.org.