While Sedalia-Pettis County United Way didn’t quite reach its 2015-16 campaign goal, all those involved said they still consider the campaign an overall success.
The goal of raising $506,696 for the partner agencies served by SPCUW was announced during the kick-off event in August. As of Friday afternoon, SPCUW is about $27,000 short of that goal, but 2015-16 Campaign Chair Deanna Clark said she’s still proud of everyone’s efforts during the last six months.
“I think that it went very well,” Clark said after Friday’s SPCUW luncheon at the Best Western State Fair Inn. “I kept focusing on the amount of money that was raised, the $505,696, and whether or not we were going to hit that goal, and that was a little bit higher than last year’s goal (of $500,000). I kept saying ‘I don’t want to be the one to not make the goal,’ but there were so many other things we launched with this campaign, it’s hard to say that it was not a success. We still have some business campaigns in process, so I believe we will reach it. It’s not over yet.
“Aside from the monetary goal, the goal of launching community impact and building collaboration within our community was the success,” she continued. “While we set a monetary goal, there were other goals that were just as important.”
“Those goals are going to help us begin breaking the cycle of poverty. Those first steps have been taken,” SPCUW Executive Director Staci Harrison added.
“A launching pad for real impact,” Clark added.
Over the last year, SPCUW has begun to implement the first steps of the Community Impact Model, which will occur alongside campaign fundraising. $15,000 from funds raised has been allocated for the initiative, focusing on increasing the median income in Pettis County, which is $10,000 less than the state average, said Community Impact Committee Chair Chris Stewart during Friday’s luncheon.
Last year, 2015, saw the first Day of Caring for SPCUW and another one is planned for October. Stewart said projects like that will help create “yearlong relevance” for United Way in the area.
The 2015-16 campaign may have ended short of the goal, but it saw many new organizations and businesses either donate for the first time, revitalize their United Way campaign, or increase their giving. During her recognition of donors and volunteers, Clark noted that the businesses who received a Gold Award for donating $1,000 or more made up the largest portion of money, being responsible for about $420,000.
Both Clark and Harrison noted that citizens can still donate to SPCUW year-round, even if it isn’t campaign season.
Outstanding Performance awards went to Gardner Denver in the Industrial Division and to Smithton R-VI, which contributed for the first time in years, in the Educational Division.
Callis Integrated Marketing, Child Safe of West Central Missouri Inc. and US Bank were recognized for having 100 percent employee participation.
The Highest Giving Award again went to Tyson Foods Inc., which contributed more than $85,000, and the Highest Giving per Capita Award went to ProEnergy, which contributed more than $52,000.
The Spirit Award, for those who went “above and beyond,” went to Pittsburgh Corning, which implemented a year-round campaign, and to Show-Me Christian Youth Home, which helped with the 2016 campaign logo and other promotional materials.
Special Awards were also presented to Terri Paul, John Meehan, Brad Pollitt, Charli Ackerman and Tammi Rucker for their support and service to SPCUW.
Phillip Mefford, of General Cable, was the recipient of this year’s bedazzled shoes from Clark — SPCUW’s tradition of passing the torch — as he will serve as the 2016-17 Campaign Chair.
“I’m excited to work with a great Pettis County team. It’s a great opportunity, everybody’s trying to give back to a great area,” Mefford told the Democrat. “(I’m looking forward to) building up the community impact and giving back to Pettis County. There’s a lot of great people here and they’ve been great to me. I’ve lived in Pettis County all my life, so it’s a great opportunity to give back.”
Mefford has been a SPCUW board member for about four years and served the last two years as the Industrial Division chairman. He has also participated in United Way drives at work for decades.
“It’s a lot of fun to get out and talk to the businesses, share what United Way does,” he said of his new role. “A lot of people don’t know how much actually goes back to Pettis County, 94 cents of every dollar (donated to SPCUW) goes back. It’s a good story to tell, a very rewarding story to tell. A lot of good agencies that are giving back to Pettis County.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.