FLORENCE — United Way of Northwest Alabama is gearing up for its 2019-20 campaign, and the organization has set a big goal for this year’s fundraising efforts: $1 million.

“We’ve been there before, and … everybody that’s included in this really wants to get our way back to that million-dollar goal,” said board President Ben Alexander. “We live in a community that is very capable of doing that.”

United Way’s fiscal campaign kicks off in September in conjunction with the agency's annual Day of Caring event, set for Sept. 17. Alexander said they reach out to companies and organizations throughout the campaign.

Each year, United Way works with other nonprofits ahead of the Day of Caring to set the tone for the campaign, and establish a variety of projects that can be completed in a day or less.

“They do not have to be current partners with us; they just have to have a 501(c)(3),” said Kerry Del Pizzo, community impact and communications director. “We’re asking them to submit simple projects that can be completed in a half day or full day, so a lot of projects are painting, cleaning and organizing, yard work, pressure washing — that kind of thing.”

Del Pizzo said six submissions have come in so far. United Way will likely begin advertising for them next week. Businesses and organizations will have a chance to “adopt” the projects, and extra volunteers will be needed to complete them on the Day of Caring.

One of the projects has already been adopted by TVA, Del Pizzo said.

“We work really, really hard to make sure that all the projects that are submitted get completed, so we really need volunteers to start applying,” she said. “All of us who are here at United Way are very passionate about our community and about helping others, so we’re happy to answer any questions that anyone has.”

In addition to the volunteers, she said 20 campaign ambassadors have been chosen to help advocate for United Way and facilitate meetings in the community.

Del Pizzo said this year’s ambassadors, who underwent their first training session Thursday, are a diverse group of community members.

“We have a really good group,” she added. “They’re local people that you can see every day. They’re champions of United Way and of the campaign.”

The group contributes to the idea of community members caring for each other, especially since United Way impacts one in three people in the region, according to Alexander.

“The Day of Caring is just our way for the community to give back to itself and come together and really stack hands and say, ‘We’re behind this community. We live here. We love the community, and we want to get involved with it,’” he added.

The fundraising campaign will run until August 2020.

Visit the United Way on Facebook, or at uwnwal.org, for volunteer opportunities.

—kendyl.hollingsworth@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5757. Follow on Twitter @TD_KendylH

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