The Franklin County Area United Way has announced a goal of $1.2 million for the 2019 campaign.
The goal and campaign highlights were unveiled Thursday morning at the annual kickoff breakfast for corporate contributors, sponsors and representatives of the five pilot companies selected to run advance drives.
About 100 people were in attendance at the program, held at East Central College in Union.
“The goal sounds like a huge number, and it is, but I know with everyone working together and everyone doing their part, we will reach it,” said Nadine Aitch, United Way board president and campaign co-chair.
“I know everyone in this room hopes for a brighter future for our families, co-workers, friends, neighbors and our children most of all,” she said. “Because of that hope, I know we will make the goal.”
Last year’s goal was $1,165,000, which was surpassed.
The campaign — the single largest annual fundraising drive in the county — will get underway the first week of September and end Oct. 31.
This year’s theme is “Improving Lives. Inspiring Hope.”
Due to the success of the 2018 campaign, officials said over $1 million was allocated to 53 member agencies and programs — improving the lives of more than 70,000 people in the Franklin County area.
“The money you give is an investment in the community,” Aitch said. “It’s also important to note that every dollar raised here stays in Franklin County and our administrative rate is just under 12.5 percent.”
Helping to lead this year’s campaign are five pilot companies which kicked off their drives this week. Phillip Kleekamp, United Way board vice president and campaign co-chair, recognized the companies at the breakfast.
They include First State Community Bank, Washington, Sullivan and Pacific locations; Mercy Hospital Washington; St. Clair R-XIII School District; Straatmann Toyota, Washington; and Compass Health Network, which also is an agency.
Kleekamp said the pilot companies will help build excitement and get the momentum going for a strong campaign.
“They will set the pace and lead the way for other companies to follow,” he said.
Kleekamp also recognized the United Way’s member agencies, which provide the direct services to meet the needs of people in the community.
“The agencies are the real reason we are here and why we have been holding campaigns for 66 years,” he said. “They provide the direct services that meet the needs of people in our communities.”
The new campaign video was shown at the breakfast, which features Compass Health Network, formerly Crider, a nonprofit health care organization that provides a full continuum of behavioral health services and supports, as well as primary and dental health services, throughout Franklin County and Missouri.
The video focused on Compass Health’s Pinocchio program, which is an early identification/early intervention program designed to serve children in preschool through third grade. These are children with emerging, mild to moderate behavioral problems, school adjustment issues or emotionally based social problems.
Katrina McDonald, Compass chief of public affairs, explained that the goal of the program is to offer services and support to children at an early age and help them develop skills that allow them to be successful. Several of her staff members were at the breakfast.
In the video, Sarah Dierker shares how her son Eli, a second-grader in the St. Clair School District, did not want to attend school and the battle she faced every day to get him there. She said the Pinocchio program proved to be a great asset and helped identify learning problems and provided the support he needed to be successful in school. Gina King, a Pinocchio associate with Compass, also is featured in the video.
The United Way Board of Directors and staff were announced at the program, as well as the 2019 campaign sponsors who help support events like the breakfast and recognition reception.
Members of United Way’s junior board, which was formed three years ago, also were recognized. The group, known as the United Way Ambassadors, will sponsor several fundraising events this year.
Several upcoming events also were announced. They include a second Agency Tour, Sept. 13; United Way golf tournament, Oct. 4; Union Power of the Purse, Oct. 17; United Way Soup Day, Oct. 22; and the Chili Cook-Off, Oct. 25. Power of the Purse events also will be held next spring in Washington, New Haven and Pacific.
New this year, the golf committee is selling raffle tickets for a $2,500 gift certificate to Big Cedar Lodge and Resort. Tickets are $50 and only 250 will be sold.
Blue United Way T-shirts were passed out to all of those in attendance, along with a pledge card, a new brochure listing all of the member agencies and other campaign materials.