t’s that time of the year. The annual Franklin County Area United Way campaign is upon us. It is the largest fundraising campaign held annually in Franklin County.

The goal is $1,165,000, slightly higher than the 2017 campaign that exceeded its $1,111,111 goal.

It is the 65th year for the campaign, which started in Washington as the Community Chest, then was known as the United Fund and finally the present United Way. Along the way the drive was extended to the entire county. A partnership with the St. Louis United Way also was formed, which is highly beneficial to the county organization in providing assistance in organizational structure, advice, training and capitalizing on publicity about the United Way in metro St. Louis. All the money raised in Franklin County stays here.

The purpose of the United Way hasn’t changed since 1953. It is to unite efforts in one major campaign rather than having multiple fund drives throughout the year, which was a drain on leadership. Not all other fund drives have been eliminated, but the situation is better than it was. Another purpose, of course, is to help people and children in need. 

Member agencies share in the money raised. There are 53 member agencies that rely on the United Way for assistance. Some would not be able to operate without the United Way.

It has been estimated that the United Way reached 76,000 people in some way or form the past year. Member agencies and programs provide health and human services that aid families, especially children, assist the elderly and disabled, and serve people in emergency situations.

The United Way screens all member agencies as to the services they provide, how they spend their allocations from the campaign and determine as best they can whether they are meeting their own objectives.

The United Way is people-serving and operates on limited administrative costs.

Kim Strubberg, executive director, has emphasized “that no gift is too small.” Any gift is appreciated. Small gifts add up so every donation is important — like every vote counts.

The United Way allocated $1 million to member agencies last year. The requests for allocations totaled more than that.

We depend on the United Way. We need the United Way to help people in need. We know the goal can be reached but it’s going to take an all-out effort. The United Way is asking donors to increase their gifts this year if at all possible.

Franklin County and its people are stronger because of the United Way. Let’s keep it that way!