The United Fund of LaGrange County assists 15 different organizations in the county that help residents of all ages.
But the agency needs help first so that it can continue to do good work around the county.
The 2012 United Fund campaign has kicked off and runs through November, with a goal of $80,000.
There are some events planned as the United Fund looks to reach its goal, with a duck race at Delt Church Park coming up first on Sept. 29. Ducks for the race can be purchased from any board member (see list below) or from the United Fund office, which is located in the LaGrange County Community Foundation building.
The United Fund is also looking at area industry to help raise funds. NISCO in Topeka is one of the agency’s largest contributors. Farmers State Bank as well as both the Westview and Lakeland school districts are also substantial donors.
“But there is always a need,” noted United Fund Director Angie Kresse.
And while direct donations to any worthy organization is helpful, Kresse pointed out that the money donated to the United Fund can help those groups even more. “We have access to other grants that are based on our campaign totals,” Kresse stated.
“This allows us to multiply the money donated via matching grants,” added campaign manager Greg Todd. For example, for every dollar donated to the United Fund could end up producing two or more dollars for the organizations that help fellow county residents.
And the money does stay in the county.
“We make an effort to identify specific needs for the money to help with,” Todd said. The LaGrange County office is part of the state United Way organization, but not the national, Todd explained, so the local board can decide on what to do with the funds – locally.
All of the board members who work to decide where the funds should go are volunteers. Current board members are Mike Frost, Greg Kenner, Linda Trowbridge, Carldean Merrifield, Greg Todd, John Birky, Harold Gingerich, Cathy Hefty, R. Larry Helmer, Randy Packer, Dr. William Pipher, and Jay Smith.
That group looks at the needs of the organizations they help, as well as looking at coordinated efforts where their funds can be used to magnify other funding, such as through matching grants.
“This (United Fund) touches thousands of people,” Todd said. “Compare that with other great organizations that only touch a few.” The United Fund has a wide spectrum of people who it helps, Todd added, with county residents of all ages, needs, etc.
The United Fund is working to get the word out to area businesses and industry that currently don’t participate in the campaign.
“We don’t need a lot of time to talk to their employees,” Kresse said. “Just 15 minutes will help the campaign.”
Kresse pointed out that a single area employee with 800 employees could encourage each employee to give just $1 per week for the year. That would add up to $41,600, over half of the United Fund’s goal. Some employers give perks to those employees that donate, such as a day off for donating their “fair share.” “Other employees do other special perks,” Kresse said.
Area organizations that are looking to get involved with making LaGrange County a better place by helping the United Fund reach its goal of $80,000 for the 2012 campaign can contact Kresse at 463-8040 or any of the board members.