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United Way exceeds its campaign goal

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More than $11,000 over the goal was raised

SIKESTON -- Not since the campaign following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 has the Sikeston/Bootheel Area United Way exceeded its annual fundraising goal by such a wide margin as it has this year.

The local United Way organization closed its 2007 campaign at 114 percent of its $80,000 goal, which means $91,400 was donated or pledged to the campaign.

"We were thrilled by the fact we had gone over our goal. Every not-for-profit organization struggles, and we are more than pleased with this year's campaign," local United Way chairperson Anna Ferrell said.

In 2001, the not-for-profit organization's fundraising campaign exceeded its $76,000 goal by $12,237.

Ferrell said a campaign usually exceeds a goal by about $1,000 or $2,000. "We have been very pleased by the response received to the campaign," Ferrell said. "It has been an exceptional campaign year for us. All the volunteers worked hard and we received contributions from many individuals and businesses in the community.

The generosity of individuals and businesses throughout the area is ensuring that the Sikeston/Bootheel Area United Way can meet its budget in assisting agencies that provide vital services to many individuals, Ferrell said.

"We especially want to thank the employees who are participating in the payroll deduction at their businesses or plants. That has been a big asset to our campaign," Ferrell said.

Taking $1 or $2 a paycheck versus a one-time $50 donation can impact an individual's donation, Ferrell said.

"The payroll deduction program has been available for several years, but this is the first year more of the local industries and plants have taken advantage of that, and it really does make a difference," Ferrell said.

Glenna Shy, director of the local United Way organization, said besides payroll deduction, she thinks online donations also made the campaign a success.

"It's very easy to make a contribution with just a click on the United Way's Web site," Shy said.

Donors can specify a United Way by ZIP code and then the donation is channeled to the appropriate United Way.

This 2007 campaign also involved an expanded role for United Way in Southeast Missouri, along with a new name for the local organization.

Shy said the umbrella organization added Bootheel to its name to better indicate its support of agencies in not only Sikeston and Scott County, but also in Stoddard, New Madrid, Mississippi and Pemiscot counties.

"The United Way is special because we serve so many different agencies, all of which provide their services at little or no cost to their clients," Ferrell said.

All money raised here stays in this area and will be divided between the 14 area agencies budgeted.

These agencies range from nutrition centers which help senior adults maintain a healthy dietary status and the Kenny Rogers Children's Center which provides physical therapy for children at no cost to parents, to the YMCA which serves all ages from youth to adults with healthy activities, and transit services which make it possible for those without transportation to get to doctors appointments or grocery stores, etc.

Agencies receiving funds are Bootheel Counseling Services, Boy Scouts, Delta Area Blind, Foster Grandparents Program, Girl Scouts, House of Refuge for Abused and Battered Women, Kenny Rogers Children's Center, nutrition centers in four area towns, Scott County Transit, Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence and the YMCA of Southeast Missouri.

"Anna has been an outstanding chairperson," Shy said, adding she's pleased with the entire board.

In addition to Ferrell, officers for this past year's campaign have been: Greg Comer and Donna Tippy, vice chairs; Sarah Buchanan, secretary; and Suzanne Burch, treasurer.

As Laura Landers steps into the role as chairman of the 2008 campaign which begins in the fall, Shy and the United Way board members are hoping for a repeat.

"The money just rolled in," Shy said about the 2007 campaign. "It's just amazing."