After a hard-fought campaign, the Franklin County Area United Way celebrated setting a new record in the annual drive — raising $969,709.

A recognition reception was held Tuesday night at Jesuit Hall in Washington. Major corporate contributors and top individual donors were recognized.

“Although we did not reach our $1 million goal, we raised a phenomenal amount of money,” said Becky Buhr, campaign co-chair. “This is a $79,196 or 9 percent increase over last year’s attainment.

“We are continually humbled and grateful for your continued support of United Way,” Buhr told donors in attendance.

Buhr said the campaign theme of “Helping Others Helps Us All” is what the drive is all about.

“And thanks to your generosity, we will be able to continue helping over 70,000 people in Franklin County,” she said. “The results are spectacular.”

Buhr said the board truly appreciates the leadership and efforts of the corporate community and individual donors.

“We realize that many requests and demands are made of you, and we are grateful to you for supporting the good work of the United Way,” she said. “Your support saves lives — each and every day — and improves the quality of life for all of us.”

Another leading force behind the success of the campaign was the board of directors, Buhr said, which was led by campaign co-chair Brad Mitchell, along with the United Way staff and office volunteers, and others.

Board members and advisory council members in attendance were introduced, along with staff and volunteers. Campaign representative Janet Hubbard also was given special recognition for her work on the campaign.

Pilot Companies

Buhr said the drive got off to a great start thanks to the efforts of the five pilot companies which spearheaded this year’s drive. They include East Central College, First State Community Bank, Parker Hannifin-Sporlan Division, Rainbow Activity Center and the Sullivan School District.

“Their great success motivated other companies to hold comparable, outstanding campaigns,” she said.

Combined, the pilot companies brought in $79,707 which represents just over 8 percent of the total attainment.

Top Contributors

The top corporate donor again this year was Ameren Missouri, which contributed a “whopping” $105,105, said Buhr.

The power company, along with the Top 5 and Top 10 contributors, were given special recognition at Tuesday’s reception. They include:

1. Ameren Missouri, Labadie and Union, $105,105.

2. Melton Machine & Control Company, Washington, $84,354.

3. Bank of Washington, $65,057.

4. Parker Hannifin-Sporlan Division, Washington, $48,974.

5. Mercy Washington, $36,550.

“These Top 5 contributors brought in a total of $339,884, which represents 35 percent of our campaign attainment,” Buhr said. “All five should be commended for their great leadership and outstanding commitment to providing health and human services for the citizens of our region.”

Completing the Top 10 are CG Power Systems USA Inc., Washington, $30,014; Clemco Industries, Washington, $21,189; The Missourian Publishing Co., Washington, $21,000; NuStar Energy LP, Hermann, $20,519; and the Bank of Franklin County, $17,538.

Leadership Givers

Individual leadership donors who made significant donations through the Henry Hartbauer program also were recognized. Membership in this program is based upon annual individual giving at five levels beginning at $1,000.

In all, 136 people participated in the leadership program, which is named after the founder of the United Way.

The leadership division shows the power of what one person can do, Buhr said.

“This group sets the bar high and encourages others to follow,” she said.

In honor of Henry Hartbauer, the United Way presents a $1,000 community service grant to one of its agencies or programs each year. This year’s recipient is Rainbow Activity Center in Union.

Special Awards

Three traveling trophies were awarded Tuesday night for outstanding performance by a company during the campaign.

Ameren Missouri received the Largest Contributor Award, which was started 17 years ago. The power company has received it 11 times, Buhr noted.

“What an accomplishment,” she said. “Please accept our genuine thanks and gratitude for all you do for the United Way and the people of our community.”

The Greatest Increase in Giving Award was presented to Parker Hannifin-Sporlan Division which had a 38.3 percent increase.

“We definitely qualify this as a miracle,” Buhr said.

The Red Feather Award was presented to the Bank of Franklin County, which increased its gift this year by 31 percent, and had 100 percent participation among its employees.

“Since opening the bank in 2000 with only eight employees and working its way up to 62 employees, the Bank of Franklin County has contributed over $100,000 to the United Way,” Buhr noted.

The United Way board also saluted Buhr and her campaign co-chair Brad Mitchell, who was sick and unable to attend the reception, for their leadership over the past two years.

“They faced many challenges . . . but refused to give up and wouldn’t let anyone else give up either,” said David Strubberg, board member. “They finally had to let the campaign end without reaching the $1 million mark, but when all was said and done, they had accomplished something truly remarkable . . . our largest attainment ever.”

Buhr said it’s been a privilege to serve the United Way and again thanked all who donated.

“Thank you for the miracles and for helping us build better communities,” she said.