United Way of Douglas County raises $1.6M so far in 2011

Members of the United Way of Douglas County gathered at Maceli’s Wednesday night for its annual leadership reception and campaign celebration where leaders announced that the organization has raised $1.6 million so far this year.

That amount means the United Way of Douglas County will be able to continue to fund groups at the same level it did last year, despite the economy.

“It’s been a difficult year for fundrasing, but we have so many people, volunteers and donors who have just stepped up to the plate and done what they could,” Beverly Smith Billings, 2010 campaign chair, said. “I think it really has been a tough year for everyone, the economic recovery has been very slow, but I’m very pleased with the success that we’ve had today because I know everyone worked as hard as they could.”

Smith Billings passed on the position of chair to next year’s co-chairs, Beth and Val Stella.

“It’s just been such a wonderful experience to see and experience the stepping up of this community, whether it’s through time or whether it’s through donating,” she said. “I’m always impressed with the city of Lawrence.”