Archive for Thursday, September 26, 2013

Editorial: Time to give

Donating to the annual United Way of Douglas County campaign is a great way to support a broad range of efforts that benefit our community.

September 26, 2013


It’s time to think about giving.

No, Christmas hasn’t come early this year, but the annual campaign for United Way of Douglas County is underway.

All around the county, volunteers are working to carry the message of how United Way donations support local groups working to address community needs. The campaign, chaired this year by Mark and Marsha Buhler, hopes to raise $1.8 million to be allocated within the county. United Way currently has 29 “community partners,” that receive funding to support their efforts to promote education, health and self-sufficiency in Douglas County. Some of those groups have been associated with United Way for many years; others are relatively new agencies that are addressing changing needs within the county.

United Way also is changing and has launched a new effort in recent years to make sure precious donor dollars are directed at projects that will have the greatest impact on community needs. Agencies that receive United Way dollars are being asked to show how they are improving education, health and self-sufficiency in the county as well as how they are working with other agencies to maximize their efficiency and impact.

One of the great parts of United Way is the way it brings the community together. Businesses throughout the county are running campaigns that let their employees have a little fun while giving to a great cause. A direct mail campaign draws retirees and others into the drive, and special efforts reach out to commuters who work outside Douglas County but want their charitable dollars to benefit agencies at home.

The needs may change but they continue to be critical. “Pacesetter” campaigns and other advanced giving had raised about $300,000 before the campaign kickoff on Sept. 17, but there’s still a long way to go to a $1.8 million goal. There is no doubt every dollar donated to United Way will be put to good use. It’s a great cause that’s certainly worthy of broad community support.


Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 9 months ago

Think before you donate

The United way President Brian Gallagher receives a $375.000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits.

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

Your dollar goes further if you just donate directly to the agency and bypass United Way. That way the agency gets the full amount of the donation and United Way doesn't keep their percentage for administrative expenses.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

United Way is a scam. My dollar goes further because I keep it.

Alceste 4 years, 9 months ago

Back when....and it is still applicable today in many workplaces is the pressure placed on employees "to give" by their bosses....because said bosses have been leaned on by the "United Way Coordinator" for that place of employment. Alceste will bet these "pacesetter" outfits keep track of which employees "give" and how much.

The United Way is a bully boy/girl outfit used more for resume building and Chamber of Conmen connections than it is anything else.

How much is the United Way head honcho paid again? What's the salary and the benefit package and the perks?

George_Braziller 4 years, 9 months ago

In the early '80s when I worked at a large Kansas bank we were REQUIRED to make payroll deduction contributions to United Way. We didn't have the option except for filling out the paperwork indicating how much we wanted contributed. I filled mine out and put down ten cents per month. It cost the bank more in time to process the payroll deduction than United Way ever got.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 4 years, 8 months ago

Alceste, & George, you are both correct. I worked for another county for over twenty years, and every year I was pressured to give to United Way. Every year I said NO and they sure did not like it. It screwed up the 100% employees donating, that they wanted to brag about.

Erika Dvorske 4 years, 8 months ago

George, Lynn and Aleceste, Thanks for giving to local organizations directly! Everyone needs a lot of financial support these days and social services need people like you to do something meaningful for organizations that address issues that are important to you. So that you know, United Way of Douglas County and our partners are accomplishing great things together that none of us could accomplish alone. We strongly discourage coercion, so I'm sorry for your past experience. Many United Way Donors are enthusiastic about the great community work that goes on and that enthusiasm might feel like pressure. As the local "head honcho," I have a salary that is approved by a board of directors who are community volunteers and my salary is public information on our IRS Form 990 (available on our website at My job provides some of the program accountability that donors have expressed that they want. This includes program coordination to address unnecessary duplication and financial accounting for these precious community resources. Additionally, the United Way staff efforts provide additional grants and resources to the community, including the Volunteer Center and an amazing AmeriCorps program. My point? United Way staff and volunteers are working to build community. I believe that you probably want to strengthen the community as well. Please give to organizations that you believe in and let's, as a community, focus energy on building good will with all neighbors. Peace, Erika Dvorske

George_Braziller 4 years, 8 months ago

Good luck Erika because you have an uphill battle trying to regain any community trust in Douglas County United Way. It's burned way too many bridges with too many people, agencies, and supporters in the past.

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