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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Longtime Lawrence couple to lead annual United Way fundraising campaign

May 2, 2013

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United Way leaders have tapped longtime Lawrence residents Mark and Marsha Buhler to lead the organization’s annual fundraising campaign, which officials hope will benefit from an improving economy.

“We’re hoping to raise the capital we did last year and maybe improve on that,” said Mark Buhler, who is a former Douglas County commissioner and state senator.

Marsha and Mark Buhler

Marsha and Mark Buhler

The United Way of Douglas County raised $1.7 million last year, but it had to go past its original deadline to raise the money, as a slow economy and changes in how the United Way funds organizations hampered giving.

The organization hasn’t yet set an official fundraising goal for the campaign. Colleen Gregoire, vice president and campaign director for the United Way, said a goal would be set in July. A group of “pacesetter” companies will begin fundraising in August, and the full public campaign will begin in September. The organization hopes to reach its goal by early December.

The Buhlers said they are looking forward to the effort.

“I’m excited about being part of this because I have no hesitation about this cause,” Marsha Buhler said. “Everything they are doing, I feel really good about it. The agencies are really working well together, and it is making Douglas County better and helping the resources go farther.”

In 2011, the United Way began implementing a new “community impact” model for distributing its funding. The model requires social service agencies in three broad groups — education, self-sufficiency and health — to come together and create a joint plan for how their agencies can work together to use United Way funding.

Gregoire said the agency now can begin pointing to some successes from that approach. They include:

• The Lawrence Community Shelter, Independence Inc. and Health Care Access have teamed up to get shelter guests from the shelter to Health Care Access for medical appointments. Health Care Access is blocking specific appointment times for shelter guests, and Independence Inc. is providing transportation to the clinic.

• Just Food, The Salvation Army and Ballard Community Services have worked to consolidate some of their food pantry operations, including the sharing of client data to avoid duplication and to free up staff time that can be used for case management activities with the clients.

• Independence Inc. and The Arc have teamed up to receive United Way funding to relaunch the Youth Employment Program, a jobs program for 15- to 21-year-olds who have disabilities.

“Tough love is not exactly the right word with this new approach,” Mark Buhler said of the United Way’s requirement that agencies collaborate. “But there is increased accountability. I have a real sense that the money people give is going further now.”

Comments

oneeye_wilbur 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Wilbur has thought about this Castle Tea room money from the county! This is a perfect example not to give in zlawrence but rather to small towns that do not have professional beggars!

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kansas_cynic 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Personal opinion. Anyone who donates anything to United Way is an idiot. They decide who's worthy and that's where the money goes. And that appears to be those associated with the UW's "board". Wonder why that is. I stopped giving to UW many, many years ago when I had a supervisor who insisted I must to make him look good. Guess what, I was no longer employed there. Same thing happens today in spite of the lies they put out.

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Jefferson_County 11 months, 2 weeks ago

"Just Food, The Salvation Army and Ballard Community Services have worked to consolidate some of their food pantry operations, including the sharing of client data to avoid duplication " What this means is that instead of three <$20 bags of groceries to live on per month (one from each place), because of the shared client database, families can now have one <$20 bag of groceries to live on per month. “But there is increased accountability. I have a real sense that the money people give is going further now.” It sure is. Don't know what those taker families were thinking living large on <$60 of groceries per month. We need to get the rest of the food pantries on board, because what family needs more than a $20 food budget per month?

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eastlawrenceresident 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Amen on the Tea Castle comment......and the lower goal for United Way....I still just give to the charity of my choice personally.....

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oneeye_wilbur 11 months, 3 weeks ago

It would be nice if Mr and Mrs Buhler set a goal of lower than last year and met it. Instead of a higher goal and more begging!

After readiing that the county commission gave away $5,000 to the Castle Te room. I have a hard time donating to most anything in Lawrence anymore.

What is it, thatnCastle could not have a fundraiser and sell tickets for $25 each to 200 people and raise their own money.

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Bob Forer 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I remember Mark hitting a home run in Legion ball at old Woody field. Right down the right field line, and barely cleared the fence. Not exactly a blast, at a little over 300 feet, but nonetheless quite a feat, as Mark, while a decent athlete, was not a power hitter.

Good guy. good choice.

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