United Way of Crawford County just finished its 2013 fund raising campaign. It surpassed its $300,000 goal by 0.4 percent (an exact dollar amount will not be available until later in the month).
Executive Director Amber Wertman said the final tally was a big relief. “I want to emphasize it took everyone in the county to make this campaign a success, through both their donations and their time,” she said.
Donations came from individuals, local businesses and three “pacesetters.” The pacesetters for this campaign were Covert Manufacturing, Crossroads Candles and United Bank. All three of them exceeded their donation goals and United Way hopes to have more pacesetters during its next run.
Some businesses held employee events to raise funds, such as a “dress down day” while others gave grants. Some businesses had a 100 percent employee participation rate, which is why United Way will present the new “Creativity in Caring” award during its annual meeting.
“We’re grateful to the community for helping and we hope people will celebrate with us at our annual meeting,” Wertman commented, announcing that the event will be Thursday, March 20 at 5:30 p.m., at the Bucyrus Community Hospital cafeteria. The organization will be recognizing the top ten companies and presenting awards.
Thirty-five programs were funded this year as a result of the campaign. These programs are administered by partner agencies, such as the Crawford County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Community Counseling Services, The Salvation Army and Turning Point.
Wertman explained each program is evaluated to make sure it addresses a need in the county and meets measurable outcomes in the target areas of Education, Health, Income and Safety Net Services. For the 2014 funding cycle, the organization’s Community Impact Committee has decided that 30 percent of the campaign funds will be designated for Health, 30 percent for Safety Net Services, 25 percent for Education and 15 percent for Income. The percentage of funding is based on the number of programs offered in each category and analysis by the committee.
In addition, the organization was able to give some extra grant funding to start up agencies or those that do not have tax exempt status. For example, the Crestline Nazarene Church has a food pantry that was helping with the Backpack Program for Crestline Schools. Neither program was large enough to fund, so they partnered for a grant to benefit both the Backpack Program and the food pantry. Wertman hopes to streamline the small grant process for the next campaign so that more start ups have an opportunity to benefit.
This was United Way’s first campaign since it merged to form one county-wide organization, which is headquartered in Galion. Wertman said it was a learning experience with some growing pains for all involved, “but it was really beneficial to the donors because they only had to cut one check and it was less paperwork for them,” she concluded. “Overall I think everyone is happy with the change.”
United Way is funded exclusively with local dollars. It receives no state or federal funding, so the organization relies on local support to fund the partner agencies and continue its operations. According to Wertman, UW keeps its administrative costs between 10 and 15 percent, which is pennies on the dollar.
Applications are being accepted for next year’s funding programs through April 30. For more information call the office at 419-468-4291 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The organization can also link community efforts to existing groups and help with reduced pricing for some supplies.