Francesca Witcher

The United Way of Oxford exceeded its ambitious goal for 2008, despite the economic challenges facing many Americans that same year.

Maureen Kranbuhl, executive director of the United Way, said the organization passed the goal by 15 percent.

Kranbuhl said the group raised $235,922, exceeding the original goal of $205,000. This was the highest goal United Way has ever set.

Kranbuhl said United Way uses the agencies’ money for programs such as Meals on Wheels-a door-to-door food service for people in need, such as the elderly and people who are bound to their home; youth services; aid to people who do not have health care and special services to low income children for free dental care.

“We serve 23 agencies that provide services to 10,000 residents out of 44,000 residents that are served every year,” Kranbuhl said. “We want to reach out to those in our community who are under insured and those who are less fortunate.”

Dennis Sullivan, economics professor and senior director of Miami University’s Farmer School of Business, said that because the Oxford community is a financially insulated community, residents are able to continue to give to United Way in the midst of the economic crisis.

“In Oxford, while things are tough, they are not tough by the standards … times are not tough in Oxford,” he said. “There are kinds of charities that suffer and kinds that don’t.

The kinds that suffer are the great big charities that bring in a lot of money nationally from the general public.”

Sullivan said charities such as the Red Cross depend on people who give to them yearly, but since people are being laid off and houses are being foreclosed, those charities tend to be put on the backburner.

On the other hand, he said the charities that thrive in the dire economic times tend to be those that receive contributions from wealthier citizens.

“Wealthy individuals are going to rise to the occasion,” he said. “They will accelerate money that they would have already given … because they can see that people need it now.”

A change in attitude among wealthier citizens when crisis arises becomes an essential part towards charities exceeding their profits, according to Sullivan.

“When times are tough it sensitizes people to meeting local needs,” he said.

Kranbuhl said she expresses gratitude toward the continuing efforts from the Oxford community for their continuous charitable donations.

“Despite the difficulties that people are feeling, many Oxford residents are committed to helping those less fortunate and those in need,” she said. “We feel blessed about that.”