United Way faced challenges in 2020 campaign, makes appeal for 2021
In many ways the Taylor County United Way annual meeting last Thursday was a good analogy of the previous year as the online meeting was cut short, much like the group’s annual fundraising efforts were cut short due to COVID-19 and the forced cancellation of events.
“It has been a tough year for United Way,” said Angela Hupf, president of United Way of Taylor County.
According to Melody Kuenne, the organization’s treasurer, the group ended its fiscal year with a projected loss of $36,000. She explained that the loss of payroll contributions and the inability to hold a major fundraising event this year were major factors in the loss.
As with many other groups and businesses this year, United Way was forced to dip into its reserves in order to honor requests from area organizations and provided 15 county organizations with a total of $85,000.
Donations to United Way help support area programs that provide services for the following:
• Providing food, shelter and utilities to those in need
• Ensuring individuals with disabilities have transportation, training, and meaningful work
• Supporting victims of domestic violence
• Ensuring seniors have healthy meals delivered to their homes
• Ensuring end of life services to those with terminal illness
• Reducing drug and alcohol abuse Organizations receiving funding this year include: Black River Industries; Childcaring, Inc.; Hope Hospice and Palliative Care; Jean M. Thomsen Memorial Library; Neighbor to Neighbor; Restorative Justice; Salvation Army; Samoset Council; Sand Box Child Care and Preschool; Stepping Stones; Taylor County Commission on Aging; Taylor County Supportive Housing; Village of Gilman (Summer Rec Program); Western Taylor County Library – Gilman; and Workforce Resource.
Funding applications are available at the organization’s website uwtaylor.org with the deadline for submission April 15.
“We appreciate the support of so many people,” Hupf said. She drew the comparison between Taylor County and other communities and noted that in Taylor County the United Way is entirely volunteer run with money donated going to help the member organizations.
“All the board members are volunteers, all the time is donated time,” Hupf said, noting they were working to build a strong and healthier community.
Looking to the future, United Way has set a goal to raise $100,000 in this year’s campaign. To make this goal, Hupf said they will need the support of everyone in the community.
“While there is a lot of uncertainty, we know that we need to adapt fast to our changing reality and that is why our community needs your help now more than ever. Due to COVID-19 we were not able to host our annual fundraising event and due to the hardships our community is facing, our employer and employee contributions are down 50% from what they were last year. So, our contributions are down and the need in our community is up. We have seen a rising increase in the number of requests we are getting from our community members to meet basic needs. All our funding that we raise each year stays local and goes to organizations that can help these individuals but if we cannot meet our fundraising goals, we won’t be able to help our community in a time that it’s needed the most,” Hupf said.
She said people can help the cause in many ways including: Donate – we need your support - choose the program or community organization you would like to support.
Word of mouth – spread the word about United Way of Taylor County at your place of work, through your agency or other volunteer organizations, at church, and at home.
Help recruit / become a board member – we need more volunteers to promote and lead the efforts in Taylor County.
Annual Kick-Off Event – attend/support our annual kick-off event. The event is planned for February 12, 2022.
Information about how to get involved and donate to United Way is available at their website uwtaylor.org.