SIDNEY — The Shelby County United Way met their goal this year and surpassed it by $27,159.
Their goal: $1,325,000. They raised a total of $1,352,159, with funds still coming in.
The numbers were announced at a finale luncheon on Thursday which welcomed members of the entire community.
It’s the community that United Way Executive Director Scott Barr said they could not do what they do without.
“This can not happen without such a generous community. Folks that are willing to let us come out, share that message with your employees, to our retirees that give one-time gifts, that collectively, we made our goal and it would have not been possible without our generous donors in this community,” Barr said.
The campaign theme this year was we’re better together. And, Barr said, wow, this campaign really showed that as numbers were coming in.
“It was amazing to see this year how collectively, if a particular account may have been down a little bit, another one was up. Every gift matters. Whether you have an employee that is giving a $1 per-pay gift, all the way up to the corporate gifts that are quite large, collectively they make a great impact,” he said.
The large manufacturing division, lead by Michael Lochard, with assistance from Tim Bickel, is projected to have raised $819,616. That number is still moving, Barr said. Their goal was $822,000.
This is the first year, in the last three, that there was an increase in the small manufacturing division. Lead by Rob Zielsdorf, the division raised $27,362. The goal was $25,000.
In the service division, lead by Mark Shipman and Sandi Shipman, $210,331 was raised. Their goal was $210,000. A last minute donor bumped their division up over their goal.
The retail division saw an extreme percentage over it’s goal. Lead by Jackie Davis, the division brought in $27,092. It’s goal was just $16,000. Barr said they may have to make the goal a little higher in the future.
First time Campaign Leader Aaron Lowe brought in $61,611 for the professional division. The goal for this division was $55,000.
In the public employees division, County Co-Leaders Kathy Lindsey and Bob Guillozet, and City Leader Kelly Holthaus, raised $30,810. Their division goal was $28,000.
The not-for-profits division, lead by Nancy Stiefel, raised $18,091, just shy of the $19,000 goal for the division.
The education division raised $56,090 total. The city education division was lead by Tiffany Wildermuth-Rank and the county education division was co-lead by Heather O’Donnell and Amy Simindinger. Their goal was $55,000.
Special Gifts Co-Leaders Jayne Smith and Nicole Switzer raised $46,075. Their goal was $42,000.
“It’s been a really rewarding experience for me,” Campaign Chair Tom Martin said at the luncheon on Thursday. “Being the new kid on the block, I was impressed how well everything went after the campaign was kicked off.” He said, everything worked together like a fine-tuned machine.
“As I’ve always said, we live in an awesome community. Each and every one of you make this community great, because of you, we were able to raise this money and give back,” Martin said.
This is the 58th year of helping citizens in this community, United Way Board of Trustees President Duane Gairer said.
One of their new initiatives they are proud of is called Imagination Library. This program allows children, new-born to five years old, all around the county sign-up to get a free book mailed to them each month. Of all the children in the county, 47 percent are enrolled in this program. That’s 1,600 of the 3,400 in the county. It was a great collaboration effort between the United Way and other entities in the county, Gairer said.
At the luncheon, United Way Board Members Gary Reed and Randy Rose were recognized for their outgoing service to the board. “Gary’s knowledge and experience and compassion are appreciated by all that have had the opportunity to sit with him on this board,” Gaier said. “Randy’s community involvement, charitable actions and kindness are just a few of his qualities that this board benefit from,” Gaier said.
To wrap up the finale, Barr said, “We are very pleased to walk away today knowing we raised over $1,350,000, so thank you very much.”
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN