The 57th annual United Way of Union County campaign kicked off Tuesday morning seeking to raise $1 million for the second straight year. The community-wide fall fundraiser achieved record-level giving of $960,000 last year, a 4% increase from 2012. It will take another 4% increase for United Way to achieve the milestone mark.
“This is a very aggressive goal and we know that,” said Mike Rose, Controller at Union Rural Electric, who is serving as the Campaign Chair this year. “But the needs of Union County continue to grow. Every year when we meet to determine funding to our agencies, we go in knowing that we cannot meet every request. It is very tough to look those people in the eye and tell them we don’t have enough to go around. Those of us involved with United Way would love to have a time where we could meet every request for every agency.”
Officials stress that the $1 million goal is not just a nice, round number for the organization, but represents a cross between true community needs and perceived fundraising capacity. United Way’s Partner Agencies are requesting a 13% increase in funding this year.
Memorial Hospital President/CEO Chip Hubbs addresses attendees at the United Way Campaign Kickoff Tuesday at Der Dutchman in Plain City. Hubbs offered his endorsement of the local organization, which is working to raise a record $1 million during this fall’s annual campaign.
“Union County is the third fastest growing community in the state,” said Chip Hubbs, President and Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Hospital of Union County. “We are on the verge of moving from an agrarian and bedroom community into a suburb. With that our population is growing significantly and our issues are changing. Not only are we added agencies every couple of years, our issues have changed. So it’s not just a matter of sustaining our current agencies. We have new problems that require new agencies and new solutions.”
Money given to United Way stays in Union County to support its mission to bring neighbors and resources together to improve lives. A single gift supports six pantries, four senior centers, two shelters, an after-school youth center, a homeless prevention program, disaster relief, prescription medication, hospice care, cancer support, youth activities, and more. Trained volunteers engage in a five-month process to determine how to best spend donor dollars. They review all program funding requests from its 26 Partner Agencies. They meet and interview staff and volunteers from these entities. They assess how far your dollars would go at each agency. And they make funding recommendations in January that stretch donations to make the greatest possible impact in Union County.
Donors may choose to designate their gift to a specific Impact Area or a program. In that case, dollars are earmarked specifically for those programs (minus our fundraising and administrative costs, which are currently at 19%, (well below the Better Business Bureau standard of 35%).
“We see it in our own organization,” Hubbs said while speaking to a group of 80 business leaders and representatives from dozens of local workplaces at the campaign kickoff breakfast at Der Dutchman in Plain City. “United Way fills a ton of gaps in the community. We do our part, subsidizing the Memorial Meals program (meals-on-wheels). We can only take it so far. United Way funding helps us to fill that gap.
“There’s that saying that to whom much is given, much is expected. Please give generously. Give as much as you can. There are so many ways to give.”
Giving via payroll deduction at work has been a Union County tradition since 1958. Businesses that have already committed to offer payroll deduction to employees for United Way include: Allen Yurasek Merklin & Owens-Ruff, Allstate, Best Buy, Cannizzaro Bridges Jillisky & Streng, Central Ohio Youth Center, City of Marysville, Community Action Organization, Conrad Leibold Woerner and Company, Dayton Power & Light, Dickman Supply, Eufinger Law Office, Fairbanks Schools, Fifth Third Bank, Frisch’s, Gables at Green Pastures, Honda Lock R&D, Honda of America, Huntington, Industrial Ceramic Products, Jerome Township, John Deere Training Center, Jonathan Alder Schools, Kroger, Liberty National Bank, Loving Care Hospice, Maryhaven, Marysville Journal-Tribune, Marysville Public Library, Marysville Schools, McCarthy & Cox, Meijer, Memorial Hospital, Mental Health & Recovery Board, Midwest Express, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Nestle Product Technology Center, North Union Schools, Ohio Reformatory for Women, Parker, PNC, Richwood Banking Company, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Select Sires, Sumitomo Electric Wiring, Technology Site Planners, Tolles Career and Technical Center, UCO Industries, UCATS, Union County Auditor’s Office, Union County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Union County Chamber of Commerce, Union County Commissioner’s Office, Union County Coroner’s Office, Union County Department of Job & Family Services, Union County Engineer’s Office, Union County Family YMCA, Union County Health Department, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Union County Senior Services, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Union Rural Electric, Veyance Technologies, Wal-Mart, and West Central Correctional Facility. Those interested in establishing a United Way campaign in a workplace not listed are encouraged to call United Way at (937) 644-8381.
Additional giving opportunities abound. Giving fliers will be mailed to every address in Union county next week. Donors could write a check and mail it to PO Box 145, Marysville, Ohio, 43040. Easy online giving is available at www.unitedwayofunioncounty.org. Three fundraising events will also occur this fall. United Way’s annual Online Auction of in-kind product and service donations occurs in October on its website. The Honor Our Heroes Quarter Marathon and 5K will be held Saturday November 1 at Glacier Ridge Metro Park with running, walking, and sponsorship opportunities available. And True Oldies 1270 radio will be hosting the LIVE UNITED Radiothon all day on Thursday November 20, featuring exclusive United Way-themed programming to encourage listeners to call in with their pledge.
“We have assembled a nice cross-section of volunteers who are passionate about United Way and are striving to hit our $1 million goal,” said Rose. “We will need ‘all hands on deck.’ We need everyone to know the impact United Way makes on the residents of Union County.”
“This is what makes Union County great,” said Hubbs. “I’ve seen it time and time again. Another example of the community coming together to support one another.”
United Way works to bring neighbors and resources together to improve lives in Union County. United Way of Union County has raised more than $18 million for local needs since it was established in 1958. More than just a fundraiser, United Way collaborates with local businesses, government, and non-profit organizations to solve pressing social service issues large and small.
For more information, please visit www.unitedwayofunioncounty.org.