United Way campaign kicks off


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“United. Why?” What’s your why?

Health coverage accessibility, a thriving future, collaboration, mental health advocacy, effective change, safety and stability, equal opportunities and quality, affordable child care.

These are among the answers given when Jackson County United Way asked people why they do what they do in the community.

That will help the agency’s staff members as they move forward in their work.

“We would like to tap into what people’s passions are and how we can promote that collaboration,” Executive Director Maci Baurle said. “I would also say it’ll help us moving forward as we plan our programs and our work and our collaboration with other community partners because without the people and their support, we can’t move our work.”

Once they find out people’s passions and what they are willing to invest time and money in, United Way also can share that with the rest of the county, she said.

“We believe everyone that gets involved in the community, whether that be giving or volunteering your time, has a reason, has a why,” she said.

During the 2021-22 campaign kickoff Wednesday at Knights of Columbus Council 1252 in downtown Seymour, United Way was able to collect more answers from people.

Baurle said the campaign will wrap up before Thanksgiving. Some company campaigns will happen after that, so the final tally will be announced during the United Way annual meeting at the end of January.

“We’ve set an internal goal. We’re not really publicizing a big goal this year just based on COVID and funding situations,” she said. “We’re hoping next year, we’re able to push out a big goal like they have done in the past.”

United Way staff also chose not to have campaign chairs this time around. In recent years, it has either been one couple or two couples leading the initiative.

Instead, Baurle said there will be 30 to 40 campaign champions. They are in the process of reaching out to people to see if they’re interested in that role and hope to have them set by the middle of September.

“These are people that were United Way supporters in different aspects, whether that be fundraising or volunteering or just advocacy in general,” she said.

“We noticed it’s a lot of pressure to put on four people,” she said. “So if we have our campaign champions and we can collaborate with people all over the community that support us in our work and help us raise money and connect with other people in the community, we feel like that’s going to be a better opportunity for us in our campaign, too.”

Those people will help spread the good work of the United Way, which includes fighting for the health, education and financial stability of every person in the county. The agency works with businesses, government, schools, faith groups, the media, individual community members and nonprofits to get the results it needs to fulfill its mission.

“We’ve noticed there are a lot of people that just don’t know what we do, so if we’re able to educate and re-educate people in the community, that’s top priority,” Baurle said.

There are various ways people can contribute to United Way at this time.

Donations may be made online at jacsy.org and clicking on the “Donate” tab. They also can be mailed to P.O. Box 94, Seymour, IN 47274 or made over the phone at 812-522-5450.

The agency also has its Community Conversations series underway. Three already have occurred, and they will continue on Tuesday evenings around Jackson County through Sept. 28, giving various groups of individuals a chance to weigh in on local issues and offer suggestions for solutions to the problems.

“We are asking community members what their concerns are, what their hopes are for the community,” Baurle said. “We can build onto our new strategic plan based on what we’re hearing from the community.”

Finally, United Way will conduct a Bridges Out of Poverty Workshop on Oct. 28 at Pewter Hall in Brownstown. That will educate participants on what poverty looks like in the community.

“We’re learning there are a lot of people that live here but might not necessarily understand what poverty is or what that looks like, so that’s just an educational piece for them,” Baurle said.

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