Sunday, 16th December 2018

Bellevue United Selective Fund Kicks Off This Week!

Article Compliments of the Bellevue Gazette - Christine Steele


The Bellevue United Selective Fund will kick off its annual fund drive on Friday with a luncheon for volunteers at the Bellevue Hospital.

For many who grew up in Bellevue, and those who have been involved involved with the fund either as a donor, a volunteer or board member over its 40-plus-year history, there is no confusion about what the fund is, what it does, and who it benefits. But others might not be so aware of how this very unique Bellevue fund benefits so many in the Bellevue community.

The fund works like a highly efficient and localized version of the United Way - but without any paid staff, administrative costs or overhead, which results in 100 percent of every dollar donated to the fund going directly to the charity of the donor’s choice.

The fund provides financial ssistance to forty-two specific charities - with more than half of those being specifically Bellevue charities, and others — like Stein Hospice, the Huron Cancer Unit, and others — that benefit Bellevue residents and their families.

Donors can specify exactly which charity they would like to donate to - even if it is not in Bellevue. As long as an organization is a 501c3 non-profit, a donor can donate to that charity through the Selective Fund.  The Fund has helped thousands of children and families over the decades.

“If you have children in this area, they have benefited from the United Selective Fund,” said fund drive co-chairman, Stephen Wasserman, CEO of Firelands Federal Credit Union, who is heading up the drive again this year, with another Firelands employee, Erica Hagar.

“If you have a child in sports, they have benefited,” he said. “Hospice is also a big one. We always have a lot of support for hospice. And Fish and Loaves. We have a lot of good support from a lot of good companies around the area,” he said. “Unfortunately, we have some companies, who have never supported the fund.”

Wasserman explained that a lot of local businesses offer payroll deductions for their employees to have funds automatically deducted from their paycheck and donated to the Selective Fund, much like the United Way does. He said many local businesses, like Firelands Federal Credit Union, where he is President and CEO, also provide matching donations for their employees.

"At the credit union here, our employees always support it and donate to it and the credit union matches their donations, dollar for dollar,” he explained. The Selective Fund is a great way for an individual and their company to donate to local charities of their choice in a simple way.

“Most business are hit up constantly for donations,” Wasserman said. “This way, with the Selective fund, businesses or individuals can choose their charity and donate to the Selective Fund, and all of that money will go to the charity of the donor’s choice. It’s nice to see, because it is all volunteer from the accounting side to the taxes. The credit union even donates the letterhead and envelopes. Basically everybody who is involved feels that it makes the community better.”

The fund is managed by an all-volunteer board, which includes Robert E. Birr, honorary; Dave Sabo, president; Glenn Cunningham, Deborah Hawkins, Judy Journey, Jeremiah Ray, Charles Sabo, and Rose Marie Sartor.

“Some of the board members have been involved for years and they made it and they have carried it forward,” Wasserman said. “The board wants to keep everything local and thought that was a good way to enhance the local community.”

The fund drive kicks off on Friday, with about 30 volunteers who will meet at the luncheon, sponsored by the Bellevue Hospital, where they will pick up packets of information and sign up sheets to take to Bellevue businesses to start the campaign.

The goal this year is to raise $200,000 — all of which will stay in the Bellevue community.

“We have set the goals a little higher this year,” Wasserman said. “Three years ago we raised $160,000. Two years ago, it was $178,000, and last year it was $187,000.”

To receive funds, charities who are in need of funding send a letter to the board describing what their need is and how much they need and the trustees review each letter and evaluate each request and decide how funds are awarded.

“It is unique,” Wasserman said of the highly local and efficiently run fund. “You don’t see it much. It is one of the things that makes Bellevue such a great place to live and work.”



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