Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Social safety net in Kansas is, sadly, now a private-sector responsibility, 2017 United Way Campaign co-chairs say

Lawrence residents Wint and Mary Winter will be the chairs of this year's United Way campaign. The couple are pictured, Tuesday, April 18, 2017 in their Lawrence home.

Lawrence residents Wint and Mary Winter will be the chairs of this year's United Way campaign. The couple are pictured, Tuesday, April 18, 2017 in their Lawrence home.

April 19, 2017


On Tuesday — the deadline for filing taxes — Wint Winter Jr. touched on the political as he spoke of the challenge that he and his wife, Mary, accepted on behalf of United Way of Douglas County.

The former state senator and his wife have been selected to be the United Way Campaign co-chairs for 2017.

Wint Winter, an attorney and CEO of Peoples Bank, said Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax policies and political philosophy, which view the social safety net as more of a private-sector than a governmental concern, should lead people to support United Way.

“We used to think about the social safety net for people with needs,” he said. “That’s going away. The responsibility for the social safety net has shifted from the government to the private sector. If you care about taking care of people, you have to take action to engage. The way to engage in this community is United Way.”

Wint Winter also noted that many people who have benefited from Brownback’s political philosophy should consider that the community’s needs didn’t disappear with the tax breaks.

“In this state, there are 130,000 people who pay zero income tax, not less income tax but zero,” he said. “I think you could argue in Brownback’s view people who save money on taxes should look to support a safety net through private agencies.”

Tax savings haven’t flowed to United Way yet, Wint Winter said. It will be his and his wife’s task to make the case in the coming year for giving to United Way and the agencies it supports.

Cuts in social services the past six years have created a large and growing need in Douglas County. Peggy Johnson, United Way of Douglas County board member, said to address the needs the United Way’s 2017 goals were to raise $1.55 million and increase volunteerism for the 29 agencies it provides financial support for and others with which it partners.

The Winters are no strangers to United Way. As well as being faithful United Way donors, Wint Winter has been a longtime member of the United Way Allocation Committee, and Mary Winter works with the agency’s Spirit of Giving programs.

They have also witnessed how United Way makes a difference in the county. Mary Winter said that as a volunteer for Catholic Charities she saw how donations helped those in need, while her husband said an experience of representing a client brought home to him the power of United Way-supported agencies to improve lives.

“I remember as a lawyer representing a woman who came to me wanting protection from abuse,” he said. “After years in a traumatic relationship, she was looking to go in a different direction. I knew how to get her a restraining order and provide her legal needs, but what she really needed was a safe place to stay for her and her two kids.”

Women’s Transitional Care Services, which is now Willow Domestic Violence Center, was able to provide his client with that vital assistance.

“That was far more important than the legal work I did for her,” he said.

His long tenure on the United Way’s Allocation Committee provided more motivation to accept the campaign chair challenge, Wint Winter said. A few years back, he witnessed an action of inspiring altruism when the director of the Douglas County AIDS Project proposed merging with Heartland Community Health. The proposal accorded with the United Way’s encouragement of such mergers as a way to increase efficiency and reduce overhead, he said.

“That was great,” Wint Winter said. “The AIDS Project director made about $50,000 a year in his position, but he merged himself out of a job.”

This year’s United Way campaign will kick off in September, but Felecia Cunningham, United Way workplace campaign manager, said leaders of businesses and institutions could expect to hear from volunteers much sooner about their groups participating in the annual campaign. Volunteers are now receiving training in making the calls, she said.


Andrew Applegarth 1 year, 1 month ago

The United Way is a parasite. Why pay a middle man (15%) to donate to an actual charity on your behalf? Why support an organization that partners with company executives to reward management for the extorted donations of the rank and file workers? If you want to donate, find a charity that is doing something you like and send your money to them. Make your support go farther by making sure it all gets there!

The United Way is bringing in less and less each year because their game plan is the convenience of payroll deduction coupled with rewarding management to squeeze their employees. However, more employees are refusing as the Internet makes it easier to find charity information. The simplicity of donating through sites such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe or scheduling recurring donations through your bank's online bill pay makes the United Way, with its 15% cut, an irresponsible choice.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 1 month ago

You didn't use to be able to do all those things when the United Way was established. But I have seen the United Way step in and fix a charity that was not doing their job. They work as and oversight too. You have to be careful on GoFundMe sites. Some of them are rip offs.

Tony Peterson 1 year, 1 month ago

On the flip side United Way can also be pretty dictatorial and require recipient agencies to change entire operational policies that don't work in practice for the agency but comply with the arbitrary edicts of the review board.

I donate directly to the agency and ignore the UW drives because I know every dollar donated to the agency is going to the agency. If you do it through United Way a percentage is deducted before the agency receives is.

David Holroyd 1 year, 1 month ago

It was horrible to bring the employees at Kmart Dist center into a meeting room and hold them hostage to giving. It really was. When I was working decades Mr. Hack showed up and when I and others found he was making more than us....we gave not one nickel.

I don't mind saying...I gave $500 a year in those growing up my parents believed in the Salvation Army and other agencies...but never would I again donate to a group that sends out persons making more than the employees they are trying to get money from.

United Way should be donated time.

Look, every year they want more and more....In fact, if you designate at work what agency..they won't follow through on your request...

And the way United Way and the Douglas County Community Foundation handled and monitored The Food Bank run by Mr. Farmer is enough of a reason to say NO,,instead of saying "I gave at work".

Why doesn't the Journal World in this story of the banker Mr. Winter include in the story the salaries of United Way workers, their names, the overhead. ?

Ms. Winter should know that one Wilma Miller (former owner of the land where East Hills business park is) upon her death bequeathed $10,000 to Catholic Social Services in Lawrence. I found out afterwards when Mr. Bud Jennings told me that it was a wonderful gift and the building down by the hospital got new carpet.

I knew Wilma quite well, and if she had known they were going to re carpet...they would have NEVER gotten the money She wanted the money to help families..not carpet the building. Her lawyer talked her into that bequest..he was a Catholic. She in fact went to a Catholic boarding school in Indiana...but never would she have wanted to replace carpet.

FACT: When she was a Presbyterian manor,,,one of the women working had lost her farm. One day Wilma said to me,,",she needs some nice shoes to work in, take me to Arensbergs."

She had Jeff come to her car...told him what she wanted...the woman got a certificate to get some shoes..NEVER, knowing who did what. That was Wilma!

The same Wilma that wanted to repair the Mausoleum...the money the city turned down over 30 years ago.

She didn't give to United Way but instead to people and charites direct. Let's read about the expenses that United Way incurs.

David Holroyd 1 year, 1 month ago

And ask, "where is that carpet now"..for that matter the buidling?

Richard Quinlan 1 year, 1 month ago

Perhaps Mr. Winter and his cohorts should have spoken up as his party completely destroyed our states finances !

Shelley Bock 1 year, 1 month ago

I believe that Mr. Winter was in opposition to the re-election of Brownback in 2014 as part of the moderate Republican opposition. He even appeared on the Colbert Show stating such. He has worked against the Far Right effort which is bankrupting the State.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 1 month ago

So, conservatives don't want to pay taxes to pay to help people with problems and they don't want to donate to groups who help people. What do they want? For people in bad situations to just go away and die? I don't get it.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

Where do the tax dollars go that support privatization?

Political campaigns

Golden Parachutes

High Dollar executives

Political campaigns

Political campaigns

My goodness these special interest POLITICAL campaign donations now appear to be kickbacks which I believe is against the law.

And last on the list are the taxpayers.

SAY NO TO PRIVATIZATION THAT WHICH includes OUR public schools,OUR medicare insurance and OUR Social Security Insurance AND WE should demand that government shut down the big time for profit prison system.


David Holroyd 1 year, 1 month ago

And to think that even Dorothy won't donate some nice stained glass windows to memorialize the deceased...a very liberal thing to do, come on. Better than giving to United Way. If Dorothy did her homework she would find that those moved from the Mausoleum were the movers and shakers of Lawrence and donated much money to the success of the community.

Maybe United Way should make a PRIORITY to repair the Mausoleum..after all it funded Mr. Farmer's food bank, for what?

Paul Beyer 1 year ago

United way is a total rip off with their so called voluntary contributions. They consistently push the business owners and managers to force their employees to :"donate" so the business can boast they are 100% supportive. Many years ago, I was pressured by my employer to contribute my "fair share", at that time to donate "1 hour's pay" per month. When I refused what my supervisor asked,the next step was the next level of management asked, again I refused. Next step top level management asked, I refused. Guess what, at that point the company donated in my name so they were 100% participating, Fact remains, I have never have and never will donate to this BS group. I donate always to many groups that I support, to the tune of, often thousands of dollars, but not one penny will ever go to this phony group.

Cille King 1 year ago

"In this state, there are 130,000 people who pay zero income tax." The number of those not paying any state income tax (includes 8 Koch companies) is 330,000, not 130,000.

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