The Franklin County Area United Way celebrated its record-breaking campaign Tuesday night by shining the spotlight on top corporate and individual donors.
“We not only met and surpassed our goal of $1,111,111, but we even exceeded last year’s attainment by almost $52,000 — and that is truly a miracle,” said Whitney Livengood, board president and campaign co-chair.
“The final attainment this year was an astounding, unbelievable $1,229,878,” Livengood told the more than 125 in attendance at the victory celebration, held at Jesuit Hall in Washington.
“Please know that we do not take your contribution for granted,” she said. “We know that there are dozens of worthy causes competing for your attention and hard-earned dollar. We are humbled and extremely grateful that you continue to support the United Way.”
A special guest at the reception was Dayna Stock, vice president, regions and special initiatives, with the St. Louis United Way, who congratulated the community on its tremendous support.
Livengood said the leading force behind the success of the drive was the board members, who were recognized, along with the advisory council members, volunteers and staff.
“We thank them for their time, hard work and dedication,” she said.
The top corporate contributor this year — for the fifth consecutive year — is Melton Machine & Control Company and Computech Manufacturing Company, Washington, with a combined donation of $154,038.
Melton and Computech had 17 leadership gifts of $1,000 or more and 22 community investor gifts of $500 to $999. A corporate match of all employee donations also is part of the total.
Ameren Missouri was the second-largest donor with a donation of $133,348, an 8 percent increase, which includes a corporate gift, employee donations, 23 leadership gifts and 79 community investor gifts.
Rounding out the Top 5 are Bank of Washington, $71,102; Purina Animal Nutrition, $51,665; and Parker Hannifin-Sporlan Division, $46,306.
The Top 5 corporate contributors brought in a total of $456,459, which represents 37 percent of the attainment.
Completing the Top 10 are Mercy, $40,226; WEG Transformers USA (formerly CG Power Systems USA), $35,000; Missourian Publishing Company, $31,363; Bank of Franklin County, $29,819; and Clemco Industries, $21,480.
The total amount brought in by the Top 10 companies is $614,347, which is 50 percent of the campaign attainment.
The Top 30 accounts for 69 percent of the total donated.
Certificates were passed out to all Top 30 corporate contributors at the reception.
Individual leadership donors who made significant donations through the Henry Hartbauer program also were recognized at the victory celebration. Membership in this program is based upon annual individual giving at five levels, beginning at $1,000.
In all, 147 people participated in the leadership program, which is named after the founder of the United Way.
There were 123 individual leadership givers in the Feltmann Circle, $1,000-$2,499; 12 in the Vossbrink Circle, $2,500-$4,999; nine in the Bodenweiser Circle, $5,000-$7,499; and two in the Louis B. Eckelkamp Society, $10,000-plus.
In honor of Henry Hartbauer, the United Way presents a community service grant to one or two of its agencies or programs each year. The award includes a $500 grant.
This year’s recipients are Heartland Independent Living Center and Buddies Not Bullies, which was featured in the United Way video this year.
Heartland helps people with disabilities live independently “with dignity and security.” The agency is currently serving 470 people.
Buddies Not Bullies’ mission is to strengthen the lives of children and families by reducing physical, verbal, electronic and emotional bullying through community collaboration, education and prevention efforts.
The five pilot companies that spearheaded the drive, holding their in-house campaigns early, were given special recognition at the reception.
They include Farmers & Merchants Bank, Gerald Industries, Hillermann Nursery & Florist, Missourian Publishing Company and Heartland Independent Living Center, which also is a United Way agency.
The pilot companies raised a combined total of $60,987.
“Their success serves as a model for other companies to follow,” said Dustin Jasper, board vice president and campaign co-chair.
Jasper said something that makes the Franklin County Area United Way unique and different is its special events.
“We conduct 11 special events annually,” he said. “That’s a mountain of work that could not be done without the help of our dedicated board, hardworking committees and many, many volunteers.”
The special events brought in $136,615 — which is 11 percent of the total attainment. These events include a golf tournament, Washington door-to-door drive, Ultimate Guys Night Out, six Power of the Purse auctions, Downtown Washington Inc. Chili Cook-Off and coin collections.
The United Way’s junior board, which changed its name to Ambassadors this year, also was singled out for helping to raise awareness and instill a sense of volunteerism in its peers.
The Ambassadors raised a total of $11,941 of which the majority was brought in by hosting penny wars at schools throughout the county. Our Lady of Lourdes School raised the most at $1,611.
“The Ambassadors did an outstanding job . . . and were instrumental in helping us reach our goal,” said Livengood.
Each year, three traveling trophies are awarded to companies or individuals for outstanding performance during the campaign.
For the fifth year, Melton and Computech received the Largest Contributor Award.
The Largest Percentage Increase in Giving Award was presented to Hillermann Nursery & Florist, which brought in $6,676 — a 192 percent increase.
The Red Feather Award was presented to former United Way executive director, Paula Obermark.
Kim Strubberg, United Way executive director, said the award is presented each year to an individual, company or organization that best imparts the qualities of integrity, community spirit and courage.
“Paula, you have more of these qualities than anyone I know,” Strubberg said. “Paula’s involvement didn’t stop when she retired. This past summer, she stepped up when I needed someone to help get a retiree group organized and I’m excited to see where this goes with her assistance.
“She truly cares about the United Way and it was such a huge part of her life for so many years, and I’m thankful it still is. She really is Ms. United Way.”
Strubberg also recognized Livengood and Jasper, the campaign co-chairs, for their hard work and guidance this past year, along with Nadine Aitch, secretary, and Phillip Kleekamp, treasurer.
“It has truly been a pleasure to work with these four . . . they all believe in the United Way and the great things being accomplished,” she said.