The United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties raised about $1.54 million for the three-county region as part of its 2016 campaign, beating last year’s total of about $1.49 million.
Clark County’s campaign raised more than $1.08 million, beating last year’s total of about $1.01 million, Executive Director Kerry Pedraza said.
The fundraising total was released at the 2016 Clark County Campaign Celebration and Awards at the Heritage Center of Clark County on Wednesday morning.
“Our campaigns are growing every year,” Pedraza said. “It’s not just with the dollars. It’s with awareness and with all of the collaborative things that we’re doing. We’re really pleased.”
The money was slow coming in from several different industries during this campaign with no rhyme or reason, Pedraza said.
“It was kind of all over,” Pedraza said. “We live and die by our donors and the numbers that come in. We’re only as successful as the amount of money we can bring in to give back out.”
Funds for the 2016 campaign are still coming in from people who work outside of Clark County, but contribute to the local campaign, Pedraza said.
“It’s very important to give where you live,” she said.
The organization raises money for nonprofit organizations that provide services in the community, addressing health, income and education issues.
Distributions to local agency for this year are expected to be released next week, Pedraza said. Last year, about $1 million was awarded to more than 50 nonprofit organizations in the three-county region. More and more new organizations are applying to receive funding from the United Way, she said.
“We have people who now think that United Way is accessible and are willing to reach out to us,” Pedraza said.
Pete Noonan, vice president and co-founder at local real estate firm Midland Properties, served as the chairman the past two years. Former state Rep. Ross McGregor, who also leads Pentaflex manufacturing firm, will serve as the campaign chairman for the upcoming campaign.
“Pete was instrumental in re-establishing our presence and I think Ross is just going to take it and grow it even more,” Pedraza said.
Champaign County raised about $288,000. The campaign there was chaired by Andrew and Amy Donahoe.
Last year, the United Way introduced the Community Challenge, an offshoot of the organization’s Corporate Challenge that ended in the mid-2000s. The event will be held again on Sept. 8 and 9 this year.
It also began the local Dolly Parton Imagination Library initiative, which sends one free book per month to a child between the ages of birth and 5 years old. The books are tailored to be age appropriate for each child.
The organization also held its second annual Clark County Service Day earlier this year, which saw 550 volunteers complete projects for 45 different non-profit organizations.
“We’re growing and getting bigger and better,” Pedraza said.
The program also included awards for several different people and groups, including:
• 2016 President’s award: Security National Bank.
• 2016 President’s award: Steve McCready.
• 2016 Spirit of United Way award: Speedway Speedy Freeze 5K Committee.
• 2016 Spirit of United Way award: Clark County Power of the Purse Committee.
• 2016 Community Investment award: Western Clark County Dolly Parton Imagination Library Initiative.
• 2016 Nonprofit Leadership award: Oesterlen Services for Youth.
• 2016 Board Recognition: Larry Timmons.
• 2016 Board Recognition: Thom Goodfellow.
• 2016 Board Recognition: Tim Suter
• 2016 Hall of Fame award: Joe Jackson.
By the numbers
$1.54 million: Amount of money raised by United Way in Clark, Champaign and Madison counties in 2015.
$1.08 million: Amount of money raised by United Way in Clark County in 2016.
$1.01 million: Amount raised in Clark County in 2015.
The Springfield News-Sun follows local groups that make a difference in Clark and Champaign County communities, including recent stories on the Community Health Foundation and donations to local veterans memorials.