United Way raises over $800,000 for annual campaign

While the outlook for the 2017 fundraising campaign looked bleak for Jackson County United Way a month ago, an aggressive late fundraising push brought the organization within 6 percent of its $855,000 goal.

In December, the agency reported a significant shortfall in fundraising. At that time it was reported some current and former board members were increasing gifts and encouraging others to do the same.

The end result was a campaign that brought in $803,355.

The 2016 campaign total was $825,724, 2.7 percent higher than the 2017 campaign.

The decrease was due to a key contributor restructuring internally this past year, said Tonja Couch, executive director of Jackson County United Way.

“A top company had internal changes to their structure and we lost internal support; so we lost not only an employee incentive that encouraged people to give, we also lost their corporate gift this year,” she said.

Although the campaign total was slightly less than the previous year, progress was made through a number of campaigns as giving and participation increased.

Fundraising to support the 20 partner agencies received a boost from several companies and their employees and new campaigns organized by several small businesses.

“Schneck Medical Center increased their campaign by over $20,000 and Rose Acre Farms increased their campaign by over $10,000,” Couch said, adding those campaigns may have a springboard to build off of in the campaigns to come. “We had several new small businesses have campaigns like Royalty Companies, so we are very much paying attention to opportunities to build engagement.”

Rose Acre Farms later received the Most Improved Campaign award and was named as a 1 Percent of Campaign member because their total contribution equated to or exceed one percent of the total $803,355 raised.

Couch said momentum from that progress could be pursued in future campaigns.

“We had significant gains this year, but we can’t show for it with a major loss, so the fact that we’re diversifying our revenue by Tocqueville gifts (gifts at $10,000 annually from individuals), we anticipate to make up that shortfall,” she said. “I think we have a great opportunity for growth where we saw it.”

Another opportunity for growth is the engagement in the community, Couch said. During her update to the room she reported the organization’s has a base of 3,262 volunteers, up from the 558 the organization had when she started in 2012. Those volunteers combined for 33,821 hours of service in 2017.

“These numbers are what we need to keep our community moving forward,” she said.

Rick and Jennifer Meyer, 2017 campaign chairs, said the staff and volunteers helped make the campaign successful. Rick Meyer said he enjoyed telling local businesses and their employees about how the agencies Jackson County United Way supports have an impact beyond just the people they serve directly

"My favorite part was being able to speak to the local businesses and tell them my story of how some of the 20 agencies the United Way supports have affected me personally and in my work as a police officer," the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department officer said. "Those agencies are vital to our community."

Jennifer Meyer, a school teacher, said the organization has been instrumental in supporting various programs in the community. She said being involved in the organization helps one understand the impact it has.

"The more you become involved with United Way, the more you realize how hard they work to meet the needs of our community," she said.

Dr. David and Monica Hartung will serve as the 2018 campaign chair, while Adam Jackson will take over as board president for Talmadge Reasoner.

During the event, attendees were asked to exchange ideas on a variety of topics the organization will use later. Groups wrote the ideas down on topics ranging from addressing substance abuse to campaign event ideas and Day of Caring project suggestions.

As representatives from the agencies were recognized, Couch reminded everyone about the organization’s mission to improve the health, financial stability and education in Jackson County.

“Not one of our organizations can do this work alone and our work to create a stronger community is challenging, all encompassing and weaved together,” she said. “We continue to create opportunities for collective impact where all organizations are working to create a stronger community.”

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Jackson County United Way partner agencies

American Red Cross

Anchor House

The Arc of Jackson County

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Indiana

Boys Scouts of America Hoosier Trails Council

Boys and Girls Club

Child Care Network

Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana

Girls Inc. of Jackson County

Human Services Inc.: Head Start

Meals on Wheels

Mental Health America of Jackson County

Read Jackson County and Plaza Latina

The Salvation Army

Senior citizens centers in Brownstown, Crothersville, Freetown, Medora and Seymour

Turning Point

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Award recipients at the 2018 Jackson County United Way annual meeting

Community Spirit Award: Bob Poynter GM

Community Service Award: Corey Robinson

Education Volunteer of the Year: Blessing Bag Educators

Health Volunteer of the Year: Nancy Davis

Financial Stability Volunteer of the Year: Bob Myers

JACSY Award Officer Keith Williams and Bud Nieman

Power of We Award: Red Ribbon Week Participants

Rising Star Award: Nate Bryant

Most Improved Campaigns: Rose Acre Farms

Above and Beyond Awards: Brad Schneck and AVI Food Systems