GREENVILLE — The Darke County United Way officially kicked off its 2016 campaign with a luncheon at Romer’s Catering Wednesday, but the donors have already jumped in early and had the campaign at more than 11.4 percent of goal by lunchtime.
This year’s goal is $375,000, which is up from last year’s $360,000 goal, but last year’s campaign brought in $399,265.25. New Executive Director Christy Baker said she would definitely like to see this year’s total top $400,000.
Baker recognized many of the volunteers who have contributed to the successful growth of the United Way’s work over the years. The many volunteers who give of their time enable the United Way to use the maximum amount of campaign funds to support its partner agencies.
She acknowledged administrative assistant Mary Riffle, who has served the Darke County United Way for 16 years.
“Mary truly embodies what the United Way is,” Baker said.
Baker also acknowledged the board of directors as well as the corporate campaigns responsible for raising so much money for the United Way mission.
Baker said that Whirlpool alone makes up a third of the annual campaign, bringing in donations of more than $187,000 last year.
There are more than 80 corporate campaigns in Darke County, 15 of which give more than $5,000. Baker said 28 individuals gave more than $1,000 last year, and two individuals gave more than $5,000.
The Darke County United Way’s mission is to “increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another” through five core principles: assessing and addressing health and human service needs in the community; fostering cooperation among health and human service organizations in the county; developing and allocating human and financial resources; promoting Darke County United Way and its affiliates; and managing Darke County United Way efficiently and effectively.
Darke County partner programs, agencies supported by the organization, are the following: American Red Cross, Darke County Chapter; Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County; Boys and Girls Club of Greenville; Bridge the Gap; Cancer Association of Darke County; Catholic Social Services Counseling Services; Community Action Partnership, Emergency Homeless Shelter; CAP Medical and General Transportation; CAP Supportive Housing; Community Services for Deaf Family Association; Community Unity; County of Rural Services, Achievement Center for Educational Success; CORS Gateway Youth Programs; Darke County Endowment Fund; Darke County Extension Service 4-H; Darke County YMCA Financial Assistance; Dolly Parton Imagination Library; FAME (Financial Assistance for Medical Emergencies); Familywize Prescription Drug Discount Program; FISH Choice Pantry; Grace Resurrection Community Center; Miami Valley Boy Scouts Council; Recovery and Wellness Centers of Midwest Ohio; SafeHaven Inc.; State of the Heart Hospice Bereavement Programs; and Stuff a Bus.
Jeff Miller, first vice president of the board, reviewed the mission statement of the United Way and said the room was filled with “superheroes.” He noted the many volunteer opportunities available at the United Way, including helping out with fundraisers such as the annual chicken barbecue or the golf outing; taking part in programs, such as Stuff a Bus, which collects school supplies for children; or helping with the mass mailings for the fundraising campaigns.
Bill LaFramboise is a board member and has been with the Darke County organization since 1988. He talked about how the local United Way has evolved over the years, from keeping records in a shoe box and supporting softball teams, to operating with a full-time executive director and a slew of volunteers to support a variety of health, educational and social needs in the community.
The current incarnation of the organization, he said, is “very much dedicated to the true need” in the community.
Nearly 20,000 Darke County citizens received services from the United Way’s partner programs last year.
Fundraisers for the upcoming campaign are Sept. 14, Golf Outing; Sept. 19, Runway & Rhythm; Sept. 26, Tractor Cruise; Oct. 7, Chicken Barbecue; and a new bowling event at McBo’s in Versailles.
For information on fundraisers or to get tickets, or for information on volunteer opportunites, visit the website at www.darkecountyunitedway.org, call 937-547-1272 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach the writer at 937-569-4354 or on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA.