Create a Better Tomorrow: 2013-2014 Campaign Kicks-Off

United Way of Monroe County and more than 140 volunteers and community members enthusiastically launched the 2013-2014 “Give Today. Create a Better Tomorrow.” fundraising campaign during a luncheon Friday, September 27th. Attendees were inspired by keynote speaker Dan Smith, President and CEO, Indiana University Foundation.

2013 Campiagn Kick-Off Media Coverage

Herald-Times (pdf)


WFHB (mp3)

Indiana Daily Student (pdf)

Other speakers included:
•    Barry Lessow, United Way Executive Director
•    Heidi Schulz, United Way Campaign Chair

Campaign leaders announced a fundraising goal of $1,425,000. Last year, individuals and workplaces donated $1,416,194 to help United Way make a difference in our community. The board set a goal that recognizes current economic pressures, but reflects the opportunity United Way has to make a significant and sustained positive impact.

Funds raised during the campaign stay local and will support vital programs throughout the coming year. United Way works with member agencies and community partners to create a better tomorrow and make a difference in people’s lives. Donations ensure people in our community have a good education, build their earnings, and can afford the essentials for their families. We focus on helping people in the short-term while creating long-term solutions to the most pressing issues in our community.

United Way Executive Director Barry Lessow remarked, “Kids who face hunger, families in which a wage earner lost their job (or one of three jobs) and face homelessness, working families without health insurance who face unexpected crises, people with disabilities who will spend years waiting for a waiver. These situations can create times of fear. Fortunately, you are there to support people during these crises. Your gifts to them ensure they have enough healthy food, have safe places to live, have access to medical and mental health care from the excellent providers in this community, have training in first aid, get a senior-friendly meal delivered to their front door, have access to quality child care and after-school care so they can keep their job, learn new workplace skills, and get transportation to and from work.”

Lessow continued, “The issues we work with are complex, but we know we will be more effective if we organize our efforts to focus on education, earnings, and essentials. All of our agencies, and partnerships, and initiatives need one more thing to work: You. You are not only in the game with us, but you are the person who will help declare victory and the United Way Community Action Fund is indeed the best way to make an overall difference.”

Campaign Chair Heidi Schulz spoke of the crucial role of each and every donor. Schulz said, “I know we are making a difference in this community... our community. Your giving is helping us make that difference. We are seeing positive outcomes because of United Way's investment in the three E's -- education, earnings, and essentials.”

Schulz continued, “United Way hears reports every day from member agencies that the need is increasing. Demand for food, low-cost childcare, after-school services, health care, and just about everything else we fund is increasing. Fortunately, you provide one of the bright spots. United Way is making a measurable sustained difference in our community. It works because you Live United. Together we make sure everyone who shares this community has the chance for a better tomorrow. You can make that impact in 2013 and many years beyond. Please join me again to make this year’s campaign a success!”

Keynote speaker President and CEO of the Indiana University Foundation Dan Smith reinforced the impact that is made every day with donations to United Way. “During these challenging times, it is vital for all of us to consider what we as individuals can do to improve lives and strengthen society. From helping area families become financially stable to providing our children opportunities for success, this United Way campaign gives all of us the chance to make a positive difference, regardless of the amount of support. There is no such thing as a gift too small to matter.”

Several positive outcomes from funded partnerships were reported.
•    In 2012, 94% of the high-school seniors in United Way funded mentoring programs successfully graduated from school.
•    100% of children taking part in programs at Middle Way House, a United Way member agency, improved or maintained their grades and had fewer missed or late days at school.
•    This past spring, Free Community Tax Service volunteers assisted low- and moderate-income people file 2,901 federal returns.
•    Patients at Volunteers in Medicine received 11,202 needed prescriptions at no cost.
•    116,103 bags of groceries and 1,206,549 meals were provided to community members at risk of hunger in Monroe, Owen, and Greene counties.
•    Of the 542 families given rent, mortgage, and utilities assistance through United Way member agencies, all were able to maintain stable housing.

During the event, Kevin Osborne with the IU Credit Union and long-time campaign volunteer and recent United Way board member was honored with the Mary Alice Gray Award for extraordinary volunteer service.

Held at the Henke Hall of Champions in the IU Memorial Stadium, the luncheon was sponsored by Indiana University.

Those who wish to join United Way in creating a better tomorrow in our community can securely donate online via credit card. Donors can also download a pledge card and contribute in the form of cash, check, credit card, automatic bank withdrawal, stocks and securities, or can choose to be billed. Those participating in workplace campaigns can contribute via payroll deduction.