Although the United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties campaign fell about $23,000 short of last year's total, officials Friday said the results were understandable in the current economy.

Several campaigns from participating groups were higher in raising $340,662, said executive director Terry Capuano. But some gifts from foundations and corporations were down, she said.

"People have extended themselves the best they can in these difficult economic times," said United Way board of directors member Barbara Ann Heegan. The board was appreciative of all that was donated, she said.

The total will mean "a shortfall in the nonprofit programs we can fund," Capuano said.

This is unfortunate, she said, because it comes when many of the requesting agencies face decreases in other funding sources. She could not say what the demand will be, as applications are due at the end of the month. A committee will assess each request, Capuano said, and make recommendations in May to the board about what to fund.

Programs must be sustainable by showing there are other funding sources, she said.

Agencies that have received support for programs in the past include the Family Service Association, local Salvation Army and Opportunities For Otsego.

Last year, 12 applications were funded out of 26 received, she said. So far, 34 applications have been distributed.

Heegan said she is developing a group to help the public better understand the work that the United Way does to support the community at large and manage limited resources.

The agency runs a yearlong campaign, Capuano said, and volunteers and staff will be letting people know that "their contributions make a difference."

The other two area United Way campaigns exceeded their goals, with the Chenango organization raising more than $500,000 on a goal of $465,000, according to an Evening Sun article. The Sidney campaign beat its $86,000 goal by $5,000.

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