United Way raises more than its goalJamestown United Way surpassed its 2011-2012 goal of $185,000, meaning 21 local agencies benefiting a myriad of people will get the funds they requested.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Jamestown United Way surpassed its 2011-2012 goal of $185,000, meaning 21 local agencies benefiting a myriad of people will get the funds they requested.
Members of the United Way and organization and business leaders learned United Way raised $193,000 at the annual meeting Thursday.
“It’s really rewarding,” said Jodie Mjoen, United Way treasurer and budget committee chairperson. “After hearing the needs of the various organizations in town, to be able to meet the goal and go further than that.”
Various businesses and individuals have donated to the campaign, which started in September and ended in December.
“I think the biggest thing is the community — $193,000 is amazing for the community we got,” Mjoen said.
The groups that receive funding from United Way help people from the young to the elderly.
Deb Lee, coordinator of RSVP+ South Central, sees the fund help elderly volunteers. RSVP+ is funded 70 percent by the federal government. The United Way contribution goes to the 30 percent local match.
RSVP+ has elderly volunteers who go out into the community and help at various organizations.
It was only fitting that seated next to Lee at the meeting was Beth Dewald, executive director of the Buffalo Valley American Red Cross.
Dewald recently had some of Lee’s volunteers help at the local Red Cross office.
United Way funds go a long way to making sure the Red Cross is available to help people at all hours of the day.
“It helps us with doing our 24 hours-a-day on call and with our disaster volunteers to be able to respond to emergencies, disasters and fires,” Dewald said of the United Way funds.
About 99 percent of the funds raised through United Way stay local.
Ben Shannon, outgoing United Way president, credits this year’s success to a kick-off event held at the Knights of Columbus. It was complete with games and booths to get to know different organizations that benefit from the donations.
Those organizations range from Boy and Girl Scouts, to the Alano Society, Salvation Army, Camp Rokiwan, Safe Shelter, Sexual Assault Response Team and Mental Health America, to name a few.
“We were able to exceed our plan and able to better meet some of the needs of the organizations we didn’t think we were going to,” said Lynette Stoddart, incoming president for Jamestown United Way, of the goal being met.
Surpassing the $185,000 mark next year is a challenge Stoddart said she’s excited to accomplish. No formal goal has been announced yet.
“We are very capable if we keep visible in the community and keep doing the things we did this year we can definitely do better,” she said.
Different businesses were honored at the meeting for having 100 percent employee contributions, increased donations from last year and for having a positive fundraising spirit.
Some things that worked well this year that were discussed included matching donations from companies and off-the-wall fundraising ideas.
“We thought we’d have a homecoming week at Farmers Union, so each day we had a theme and a goal to raise more money each day, and we had some crazy games going on,” said Carla Edinger, outreach director for North Dakota Farmers Union. “I think the one game that raised the most money that week was battle of the bosses.”
Chris Rathjen, who accepted a spirit award for Newman Signs, said a variety of events helped fundraising, included paying $5 to wear jeans at work all week, and home-cooked meals for sale at lunch.
“I just think there’s a lot of different ways out there that you can get employees and businesses involved, because every dollar goes a long way,” Rathjen said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org