WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Northern Berkshire United Way has kicked off its 2012-13 campaign with a fundraising goal $550,000.
Robert Abel, who will co-chair the campaign with Osmin Alvarez, said Friday morning that reaching the campaign's goal will involve a team effort.
"Our job is to educate others about the agency. We have to ask them for their support, whether they are family, friends or co-workers," he said during the agency's annual meeting at The Williams Inn.
He and Alvarez are both competitive personalities, and they're going to make the campaign one that goes right through to the finish, he said. That confidence was reflected in a bit of play-acting at the meeting where Abel started to give a speech declaring a successful 2012-13 campaign.
"This is a really exciting day for both Ozzie and I. We are both honored and humbled to be here," he said. "We not only met our goal, we blew through our goal for 2012-13."
About a minute into Abel's remarks, Alvarez stood up to tell him that he was giving the speech that was meant for the campaign's end in May 2013.
After locating the "correct" speech, Abel spoke briefly about his friendship with Alvarez and then talked about the importance of the campaign.
Abel said the 22 member agencies supported by the Northern Berkshire United Way change lives every day, provide support for families and individuals, and are critical to the health and well-being of the community.
"When you give to the Northern Berkshire United Way, it stays in the community, and that is what people have to understand," he said.
Alvarez is president and chief executive officer of Boxcar Media LLC. He has served on several local boards including the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, the Berkshire Economic Development Corp., the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority and Northern Berkshire Healthcare.
Abel is president and CEO of True North Financial Services, and is a board member of several nonprofit organizations in Berkshire County. Both Alvarez and Abel reside in Williamstown, and each are married with three children.
Thomas Rumbolt, president of the Northern Berkshire United Way board of directors, told those attending the annual meeting that 2012-13 was going to be a good year.
"We're always looking for new businesses and individuals to contribute money and participate in volunteer efforts," he said.
He added that a recent study done with the Williamstown Community Chest has resulted in suggestions of how the community chest and the Northern Berkshire United Way can better use their resources to support their communities.
"Our past year has really been about relationship-building and fostering those relationships," he said.
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