By now we all know the 2013 United Way campaign exceeded the goal of $1,000,060, making it one of the most successful campaigns in 60 years of united giving in Washington and in this area — now the entire area of Franklin County. The celebration of exceeding the goal was held Tuesday evening at Jesuit Hall in Downtown Washington.

The program listed the members of the Henry Hartbauer Leadership Giving Program, and, to say the least, it’s an impressive list of names. The number in each giving category makes an impact as to the faith people have in the United Way. Henry Hartbauer, by the way, was one of the early leaders in establishing the Community Chest in Washington in the 1950s. Later it became the United Fund and then the current United Way. The county group now is affiliated with the St. Louis United Way.

It was in the 1950s that the Community Chest was established because there were too many individual drives for funds. The movement for united giving actually began with Union Electric’s Planned Progress program. One of the early leaders in that program was Jim Hettenhaus. As we recall, he was in the insurance business and moved to another city shortly after the idea was born for united giving. Some of the early meetings actually were held in his home.

The highest level of giving is the Louis B. Eckelkamp Society — Silver circle ($10,000 plus donation). Three couples were in that category this year. Next was the Kenny Kruel Circle ($7,500-$9,999) and there was only one member (anonymous) this year. Ken Kruel was an early leader in the program. Then there is the Lewis E. Bodenweiser Circle ($5,000 to $7,499). Three couples and one other person were listed in that circle.

Then there is the Robert L. Vossbrink Circle ($2,500-$4,999). There were 10 couples and seven other individuals listed as donors. Bob Vossbrink was a longtime leader in the program.

The final category in the program with names of donors was the John H. Feltmann Circle ($1,000-$2,499). It took an entire page in the program to list all of the donors in this category.

Of course, there were countless donors who gave less than $1,000 and their gifts helped to put the drive over the top. Without these countless donors the drive would not have been successful.

The 10 companies that donated the most also were listed. As mentioned in earlier news stories, Melton Machine & Control Company led the companies with a gift of $114,010, which is a new record.

The Franklin County United Way leadership is supported by many volunteers. The top leaders this year were David Strubberg of Ameren and Stephen Trentmann of the Missourian Publishing Co., now commonly referred to as the Missourian Media Group. Strubberg has been serving as president and was campaign co-chair with Trentmann, who is vice president. The two men head a board that totals 20 members. The executive director is Kim Strubberg.

The Franklin County United Way receives guidance from the St. Louis United Way through its affiliation with that agency. All the money raised stays in Franklin County.

The united way of giving started very small in size in this area. It has grown in the number of volunteers and it is respected for its orgnizational skills and in the allotment of funds. The attitude of the volunteers and donors is outstanding. The cooperation of companies in holding drives keeps reaching a new high. All in all, the Franklin County United Way is a tremendous success!