News release from the United Way of Allen County:
United Way Sets $5.4 Million Community Campaign Goal
Increase to Support Expansion of Key Initiatives
(August 30, 2012) – United Way of Allen County leaders are increasing the 2012 Community Campaign goal to improve short-term and long-term outcomes for local residents. At a news conference held today at Sweetwater Sound, volunteer Campaign Chair Jeff Miller announced the goal of $5,400,000, challenging current donors to increase their contributions and new businesses and donors to get involved with United Way. This goal is approximately six percent greater than what the community pledged during the 2011 Campaign, which totaled $5.1 million.
“We really do live in an exemplary community where people step up when asked,” said Jeff Miller, site executive at Raytheon and United Way’s campaign chair. “We’re off to a great start with both new and increased gifts and we want to keep that momentum going. With new campaigns at business leaders like Vera Bradley and Medical Protective and seasoned pacesetter campaigns like those at Swiss Re and UPS, I’m confident we’ll meet this increased goal.”
“Just as the needs and opportunities in our community grow and evolve, so does United Way,” said Todd Stephenson, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County. “Our four priority areas of education, income, health and basic needs encompass the greatest needs in our community and we’re expanding in areas such as our education initiatives to provide additional resources to support early childhood learning.”
Donations to United Way support programs at 34 partner agencies which directly address one of seven community goals: children enter kindergarten ready to learn; children read at grade level by the end of third grade; youth succeed in school; youth successfully transition from school to adulthood; families live productive and economically stable lives; seniors and people with disabilities maintain independence; and individuals and families have food, shelter and access to health care. The funds are allocated by volunteers who carefully examine each program and its results.
United Way of Allen County also seeks to make a lasting impact by leading several initiatives in addition to funding programs in the four priority areas. The education initiatives include successful programs such as Real Men Read and School Buddies, which are coordinated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana, as well as expanded early childhood programming aimed at kindergarten readiness. The 2-1-1- Services, supported by Lutheran Health Network, are operated by United Way and provide health and human service information and referrals to a ten county region in northeast Indiana. The Free Tax Prep Program, in partnership with the Volunteer Center @ RSVP, is another initiative that provides free, high-quality tax preparation for low- and moderate-income residents.
Miller and Stephenson were joined at the Community Campaign Kick-off held at Sweetwater Sound by dozens of United Way volunteers and representatives of partner agencies.
“The representation from so many wonderful businesses and partner agencies really does embody what United Way is all about,” said Stephenson. “We continue to have a strong base of supporters and that base expands as the work that we and our partner agencies do impacts the community in critical ways. That’s what United Way is about; impacting Allen County by addressing many short-term critical needs as well as developing long-term community solutions that make it a place where people can learn more, earn more and lead safe, healthy and productive lives.”
Approximately 300 area businesses run workplace campaigns with about 12,000 individuals making a donation each year. Workplace campaigns generally run September 2012 through early 2013. This year, staff and volunteers hope to increase giving by focusing on the following efforts: 1) new campaigns at leading companies in Allen County; 2) implementing best practices in all workplace campaigns; 3) increasing gifts from existing workplace campaigns, leadership level individual donors and foundations; 4) leveraging a grant from the Indiana Association of United Ways, which matches new gifts of at least $100 and existing gifts that increase to a level of at least $500 dollar for dollar; and matches increased gifts between $100 and $500 at 50 cents on the dollar.
“The matching funds we have available from the Indiana Association of United Ways are an excellent way to make your dollars go even further,” said Miller. “This grant is a way for both the new donor making a first time gift and the existing donor who has been giving for many years to make their investment with United Way of Allen County even more impactful in our community.”
Anyone wanting to contribute to United Way’s Community Campaign can give online ator call 260.422.4776 and ask for the staff accountant.
2012 Campaign Cabinet members: Herb Anderson, USW Local 715; Jerry Henry, Midwest Pipe & Steel; Dent Johnson, BF Goodrich; Steve Lutz, Raytheon; Mike Marhenke, Grabill Bank; Bruce Menshy, Raytheon; Jeff Miller, Raytheon; Susie Peirce, Fort Wayne Children’s Choir; John Rogers, The Roger’s Company; Randy Rusk, Do it Best Corp.; Chris Sosebee, Weigand Construction Company; John Walsh, Lutheran Health Network; and Irene Walters, IPFW.