Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2010

United Way kicks off 2010 campaign

September 9, 2010


Zachary Pitts, 9, makes a funny face for the photographer upstairs during a photo session at last year's United Way of Douglas County campaign kickoff at Abe & Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St. This year's event is Thursday.

Zachary Pitts, 9, makes a funny face for the photographer upstairs during a photo session at last year's United Way of Douglas County campaign kickoff at Abe & Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St. This year's event is Thursday.

United Way kickoff carnival continues on despite rain

United Way hopes to raise $1.7 million this year, and the carnival helped kick off their yearly campaign. Enlarge video

With bands, games, hot dogs and clowns on tap, Lawrence families didn’t let the rain stop them from attending the United Way’s Community Campaign Kickoff Carnival at Abe & Jake’s Landing.

The weather forced organizers to seek shelter and move the event away from South Park on Thursday evening.

The annual kickoff, which had previously been a formal breakfast recognizing donors that lead the fundraising effort, was opened to everyone and family friendly this year.

Organizers hoped to raise awareness about the United Way campaign and convince more people to give.

“We would love to add another 500 new donors, people who are new to giving and invite them to give at whatever level,” United Way of Douglas County President and CEO Erika Dvorske said.

The United Way, which serves 24 area social service agencies, set its fundraising goal at $1.76 million this year. The amount is a less than 1 percent increase from what was raised during last year’s campaign.

“The need is high, and it continues to be a very challenging economic environment,” 2010 United Way Campaign Chairwoman Beverly Smith Billings said. “We are going to work hard and do everything we can to meet that goal.”

Twenty businesses throughout Douglas County have already run pacesetter campaigns and another 100 business campaigns are about to get under way. So far, the United Way has reached 20 percent of its fundraising goal.

“We want people to be aware that the United Way campaign is going on,” Dvorske said. “And we want the entire community to be invited to invest in human services across the community.”

Part of Thursday’s event involved an improvised group photo at Abe & Jake’s by local artist Stan Herd. Because of the rain, the organization had to abandon plans for attendees to stand in the shape of the United Way logo in South Park, where mow lines had been created to form the image.

Dvorske said they still hope to take that photo when the weather clears.


Tom McCune 7 years, 5 months ago

United Way should be illegal in the workplace. Many companies have banned it was just another form of employee solicitation.

Tom McCune 7 years, 5 months ago

Correction. "... as just another form of employee solicitation."

mr_right_wing 7 years, 5 months ago

Agreed; it's been over 5 years since I worked for a company that did that....but I remember that you were supposed to turn in your form no matter what; even if you were giving nothing. That really bothered me.

George_Braziller 7 years, 5 months ago

Ahhh yes. We are now in the infamous "black out" period for United Way fundraising. Agencies receiving UW funds are prohibited from doing their own fundraising for three months so they don't compete for the dollars United Way wants to suck up so they can grace the agencies with a few bucks.

Well, at least what's left after the fundraising and administrative expenses have been deducted.

Bassetlover 7 years, 5 months ago

Actually George, the "black out" period went away a few years ago. United Way didn't want to restrict agencies from doing their own fundraising during this period.

Kash_Encarri 7 years, 5 months ago

It may not be 3 months as George points out, but it still exists.

The scouts in Kansas City are already out selling popcorn. Scouts in Douglas County won't start selling until October because of this black-out period.

ECM 7 years, 5 months ago

One? Not where I work it is never ending. Your comment "Shut up and give or next year we're coming to your house" say it all.

I will NEVER give a cent to the United Way. I do donate directly to several charities UW says they support but here is the difference, they get 100% of my donation. What a shocking thought

oliveoyl 7 years, 5 months ago

You can designate part or all of your donation to whichever agency you choose, that they serve. Granted I understand that you don't necessarily need a middle man to do this but some people, who want to give, may not be familiar with the organizations in town so they leave it up to the United Way to fan those dollars out...they are all worthy causes. United Way does a lot for this community whether people want to believe it or not. I work for an organization that receives money from the United Way...even on top of our own development, it is much needed and appreciated. It's a wonderful organization that is a factor in keeping agencies like the one I work for operating. It's your choice to give directly to your organization of choice but if you aren't sure...United Way is a good way to go.
It's really unfortunate to read so many negative comments about United Way...they do a lot of good for people in this community. United Way helps agencies in driving more funds from a pool of people that might never be tapped in the first place...aka the employee campaign. From my understanding and is only one ask per year.
To address ECM...are you sure it is UW making several asks per year? It might be other agencies that are trying to get your dollars as well or possibly agencies that get funds from UW but are trying to do their own development.

hail2oldku 7 years, 5 months ago

At my place, it's solid - give, give, give - for a month. What makes it feel like a year round thing is the per payroll draw that some people sign up for, but you are right it is just that one month.

While what the UW does is, in theory, a good thing their execution is very poor. The last 990 filed that I could find (2008 I believe) for UWDgCo should better than 25% of the donations collected going to cover costs of running the program. I think people expect more the 75 cents on the dollar to make to their designated charity, and that's not happening. UW is very ineffecient.

oliveoyl 7 years, 5 months ago

I totally see what you are saying and that definitely is the downside of using UW. They have to keep their agency running as well so of course they use some of the money for operating costs. I guess in my opinion it is worth it b/c most agencies don't have the resources, time, manpower, etc... to implement huge campaigns like UW does, so in a way they are doing a lot of work that we necessarily can't and we benefit from it. Dunno...I think it's a worthwhile agency but I also work on the side that it benefits so I understand that my opinions may be biased. That said...if people are giving directly to their charity of choice that is wonderful as well.

Erika Dvorske 7 years, 5 months ago

While I might be biased, I am also the most familiar with United Way financials, so I would like to clarify this information. United Way of Douglas County has a 2009 IRS Form 990 available on our web site That will indicate that for last year we had approximately 13% Fundraising, Management and General. This is well below the national average. Some of the United Way campaign does go to our internal programs, including the Roger Hill Volunteer Center and the United Way Human Service Center. These programs are cost effective because they serve over 150 nonprofits county-wide. We are always looking for more ways to be efficient and I would invite you to contact our office and volunteer to help us achieve even greater efficiency. Just this week we had volunteers planning events, leading campaigns, stuffing envelopes and much, much more! Thanks volunteers!

oliveoyl 7 years, 5 months ago

Thanks Erika! United Way does so many great things for this community! You are appreciated!

mr_right_wing 7 years, 5 months ago

I haven't seen anything in the paper yet about the Womyn Take Back The Night rally that's coming up in the next month.

I remember the first few from my days in the media because WTCS was very strict about the media only sending female reporters to cover it. (Men were basically discouraged from attending period..and were forbidden in the march.) From that point on I decided I'd do the United Way and WTCS a favor and not give them a single penny of my man-handled (therefore offensive) money.

HOPEFULLY things have changed. Back in the early/mid 90s inclusive and tolerance weren't in the WTCS mission.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 5 months ago

....and thanks to this; the internet, you have easy direct access to your favorite non-profit. Most non-profits have ways for your to give online. (Which is hurting UW, they don't get a percentage of what you intend for your favorite non-profit.)

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