With nine days to go before its initial fundraising report is disclosed, the United Way of Cayuga County campaign continues to push for every dollar to meet the agency's annual goal.

Lon Fricano, director of operations for TLC Emergency Medical Services and TLC Medical Transportation who helped lead the charge in donations for the United Way this year, said the campaign has not yet reached its goal but is on the right track.

“Donors have been sending in their pledge cards and helping us get all our ducks in a row to meet our goal,” Fricano said Monday. “And I think so far it's going well.”

Over the last few months, Fricano and retired YMCA director Jim Courtney have worked together as United Way campaign chairs.

The campaign kicked off Sept. 12 with a goal to raise $1,322,000 for the county. Fricano and Courtney as well as staff and community volunteers worked to relay the organization's message to the community.

The total amount already raised is a tough number to pin down, Fricano added, due to donations that are still coming in. But the organization has raised more than $1 million dollars, he said, at a challenging time.

“It's been a tough year. Both Hurricane Sandy and the fiscal cliff have really put a stress on everyone,” he said. “The hurricane has hit home for a lot of folks and you can only go to the well so many times.”

Fricano has also witnessed a lot of donor fatigue among community members who stepped up to help multiple causes over the last few years. And some major corporations have had to deal with their own internal changes, which has had an effect on the outcome of this year's donations. But overall, Fricano said, the campaign is doing well.

Credit and debit card payments have helped make the giving process that much easier, too. Donors are able to give without the fuss of checks and mail-ins and can regularly give a few dollars a week, Fricano added.

The first report will be disclosed at 5 p.m. Dec. 12 at Emerson Park. The community is invited to attend and Fricano said it will be a great progress report about how much they've already raised. And even with what he calls a “nail-biting” kind of year, the generosity and support of the community remains strong.

“Many people have been involved in helping to move our goal forward and it really is a testament to this community and how supportive they are,” he said. “And we would just like to encourage everyone to continue to step up and give as much as you can.”

He added: "It's not over until it's over."

Staff writer Sistina Giordano can be reached at 282 -2237 or sistina.giordano@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at CitizenGiordano.

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