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iGot campaign aims to raise funds for OTC
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     Volunteers will call on businesses this week soliciting funds for Ogeechee Technical College's annual "iGot" (I Gave to Ogeechee Tech) campaign to raise money for the Ogeechee Tech Foundation.
    According to OTC vice-president of Institutional Advancement Beth Mathews, the goal this year is $200,000.    
    "We know that times are tight for everyone, and we just hope that (potential donors) will see what a service we do for the community in educating the workforce," Beth Mathews said. "And we hope they'll please give."
    The fund raiser brought in more than $313,000 last year, aided by a single donation of $100,000  by Jean Mathews in honor of her late husband, Charlie Joe Mathews.
    The iGot campaign evolved from OTC's long-time "Five Days in May," which was held in May every year. OTC decided to move the fund raiser up to March, avoiding conflict with other fund raisers, graduations and other events in the area.
    The event, which begins with a kickoff breakfast at 8 a.m. at the conference center on the campus, is set for Tuesday.
    "The volunteers will at that time be given pledge cards for businesses in the county and they'll be asked to go visit with those businesses," Mathews said.
    She said beween 115 and 120 volunteers are expected to participate in this year's drive.
    "A direct mail piece has already been sent to all the businesses we'll be contacting," Mathews said, adding that newspaper ads and billboards should prepare the businesses for the visit.
    All money collected goes to the OTC Foundation, which funds things that state monies and scholarships don't cover.
    "The majority of our money goes to help fund scholarships and emergency funds for our students along with equipment purchases and faculty and staff development," she explained.
    Rachael Edwards, president of the Executive Board of the OTC Foundation,  spoke of the importance and purpose of the foundation.
    "This is our main funraiser for the foundation. We support the GOAL  awards, support staff of the year, faculty member of the year, a lot of activities that state money just won't stretch that far. There are a lot of things that the state won't allow to be funded with state money."
    She also mentioned the budget cuts that are sweeping through the education system as the ecomony falters.
    "With the buget cuts, they've had to be very careful with their budget to try to keep everything going without having to cut any of the programs or faculty."
    But she is hopeful that the area will be as generous as it has been in the past, even in today's deflated economy.
    "I would say that we hope that people will still be able to give, and what we've found so far is that despite the economy, we have a very supportive community and they're still willing to give what they can. It may not be as much as they could do last year, but the fact that they're still willing to support it means a lot to us."
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