The United Way of Pekin is over the halfway mark in its 2018 campaign for donations to fund 18 local charitable agencies, said Aaron Lohnes, executive director of the United Way. 

The campaign’s goal is $450,000 — the same as the 2017 campaign. An exact figure collected at this time was not available Wednesday afternoon because of a software issue. The organization collected $452,000 in the 2017 campaign. Private donations are appreciated. This year is no different.

“There’s definitely still some work to do,” said Lohnes. “If all signs continue down this road, we’re going to finish higher than we did last year as far as our income, which is good — it’s excellent. 

“We had some very, very generous individual donors this year and that’s what’s kind of sparking this. It’s not a direct result of an increased number of business campaigns. We’ve had a couple of generous, large individual donors — private donors. Historically I know (private donations have) been a sizable chunk of the campaign here. We have some very generous people in our community who have given year in and year out. And some of them this year have decided to go a little above and beyond, and we appreciate that very, very much.”

The donors asked that their names and the amount donated not be released, he said. Lohnes said individual donors have contributed more than $150,000 total so far this year.

Caterpillar has not yet held its campaign this year. The company is one of that largest contributors to the United Way of Pekin.

Lohnes said donations are still needed to make the goal.

The future

Any upward movement in charitable donations that might make its way into the coffers of local charities as a result of President Donald Trump’s new tax code will take time and is uncertain at best, said Lohnes. The new tax law reduces corporate federal taxes from 35 percent to 20 percent. Corporations are reacting differently at this point.

Lohnes said he spoke with a member of an accounting firm about the new tax law and was told it is confusing right now.

“There is still a lot to be learned about this tax code,” said Lohnes. “The ramifications, the long-term look — honestly we don’t know right now.

“It’s interesting. Some companies, as you’ve seen on the news, are handing out bonuses, and they’re hiring. Other companies are not doing that — they’re contracting. It’s a mixed bag as to what’s going to happen. As far as a direct result on us and the non-profit world, we’re not seeing it yet, but there is a possibility we could see some benefit from that. It just depends on each individual company’s wherewithal — what they decide their priorities are.”

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