United We Stand - The Missourian: Opinion

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United We Stand

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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:30 pm

The Franklin County Area United Way shattered its 2013 fund-raising goal by raising a whopping $1,040,723.

This year’s goal was $1,000,060 in honor of the organization’s 60th anniversary. The campaign netted $40,663 over that lofty goal.

In a still-shaky economy, this is nothing short of remarkable.

It speaks volumes about the generosity and compassion of the people who live in the county. It is truly an extraordinary achievement.

The need was greater this year and people and businesses responded in kind. The funds raised will benefit more than 48 area agencies and programs in the county. Last year, over 70,000 people in 35 communities were impacted by these services. More will be helped this year.

That is usually how it goes in our county. We rise to the challenge. Our county always coalesces around a cause.

When you take a moment to count your blessings this Thanksgiving holiday, be grateful we live in a county where people truly care about those less fortunate. That isn’t the case everywhere. But it is here and that is something very special.

Raising a million dollars is no easy feat but the members of the United Way make it look that way year after year. So easy we probably take it for granted that they will hit their goal each year.

Thankfully, the United Way board members don’t take anything for granted. They sweat every detail of every campaign because they care. They get up in the middle of the night to make presentations to employees who work second and third shifts and they stand in the middle of intersections to collect donations.

They believe in the cause and they want to help as many organizations and agencies as they can. It is a point of pride for them. And it’s infectious.

Most of the members of the United Way are volunteers. Like the rest of us, they are busy at home and at their businesses. Still, they find time to run a bigger campaign every year so they can help more people.

What else is inspiring is the way our business community rallies around the campaign each year. United Way is among the few local charity-related organizations that goes directly into the work place to solicit funds.

Businesses partner with the United Way to promote the organization’s mission among its employees. They activate their work force and get their employees involved in the campaign.

They challenge their employees to contribute to the United Way by offering prizes, time off and other incentives for participation in the campaign. Businesses hold raffles and auctions and provide food and, most importantly, they allow United Way representatives into their businesses to explain how the organization benefits the community. They are essential to every campaign.

Melton Machine & Control Company in Washington was the top corporate sponsor this year raising a total $114,010 which represented a 35 percent increase over last year’s contribution. The company set out to be the top corporate fund-raiser in the campaign and it achieved its goal in resounding fashion.

Because so many of the blessings we enjoy we take for granted, and even insist on receiving, we lose sight of what it means to be grateful.

The second highest corporate contributor was Ameren Missouri which brought in $110,828, a 5 percent increase over the previous year. The Bank of Washington came in third at $65,200.

Also in the Top 5 were Mercy Hospital Washington with a gift of $42,405 and Sporlan-Parker Hannifin, Washington, which raised $40,593.

Rounding out the Top 10 in order are CG Powers Systems, Washington, $30,000; Clemco Industries, Washington, $23,225; Missourian Publishing Co., Washington, $22,997; Bank of Franklin County, $20,950; and NuStar Energy LP, Hermann, $19,010.

How important are the corporate sponsors? The Top 30 corporate donors generated $711,628, or 68 percent of the total collected.

The Franklin County Area United Way annual campaign represents the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

We offer our congratulations to all of those involved in this year’s campaign for a job well done.

/opinion

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