United Way fundraising campaign kicks off Friday
Those leading this year’s Leavenworth County United Way drive acknowledge it’s going to be a tough fundraising year.
“Our goal is $375,000,” said Derald Linn, executive director of United Way of Leavenworth County. “It’s the same as last year. We figured with the economy the way it is, and it doesn’t seem that things will get much better, we didn’t want to up the goal.”
This year’s campaign chairman, Blake Waters of Tonganoxie, agreed but said the message he shared was that tough times created more need for the organizations United Way supported.
“Stepping up to fill that need is a bigger challenge,” he said. “I happen to believe people of the county and the nation are really giving folks.
“We all go through tough times. We all have to rely on others at some point in our lives. I think the tough economy sharpens the focus of the need and helps us define it more.”
This year’s Leavenworth County United Way campaign’s kickoff rally will be 7 a.m. Friday at Hallmark Cards, 450 Eisenhower Rd., in Leavenworth. The event will include a pep rally for the coming effort and conclude with the passing out of employee packets to the participating employers, Linn said.
One challenge for the campaign is to convince residents in the southern part of the county that they too are served by United Way agencies, Linn and Waters said. In response, they point out United Way supports Boys and Girls Scouts and Special Olympics in all the county’s communities; funded countywide service organizations active throughout the county such as the Alliance Against Family Violence, which has a shelter in southern Leavenworth County, and CASA; and helped Children’s Mercy Hospital provide non-compensated care to young patients.
“Down here, it seems like Tonganoxie and Basehor are out of the main stream of the effort,” Waters said. “But when you really dig in and see who the agencies are serving, it truly does touch everybody in the county. You many not drive down the street and see a United Way banner, but if you look into it, it truly does have an impact in the two communities.”
This is Water’s first year with the Leavenworth County campaign, although he was active in the Untied Way while living in Liberal and Garden City. Linn credited Waters with bringing a number of creative ideas to the campaign, including a video explaining the mission of supported agencies.
There is still time for employers to take part in the kickoff event, Linn said. Those wanting to participate can call him at (913) 682-2592.