United Way of Adair County/Northeast Missouri, an organization that sponsors 13 service- and community-focused agencies in Northeast Missouri, raised more than $10,215 on the first day of its annual fall fundraising campaign with its Kickoff Celebration.
John Dungan, United Way executive director, says this year’s goal is to make $205,000, which he says is slightly higher than its usual $200,000 goal. He says last year the organization raised about $175,000 of its $200,000 goal, but he says he is very optimistic it will reach this year’s goal based on the high amount of support received leading up to the Kickoff event. He says it raised about $20,600 in pledges before the start of the fundraiser, and thus has raised more than $30,000 so far.
Dungan says he appreciated the support of local businesses and organizations for providing the food and other resources for the event, as well as the live performance by the Kirksville band Deadwood. He says he is also looking forward to the role Truman State University will play in this year’s fundraiser. He says most of the funds comes from an annual fundraising campaign by the Truman faculty and staff, and another $8,000-$12,000 comes from students who donate their unused Sodexo meals during Sodexo’s annual Food Fast fundraiser, which he says usually takes place later in the year. He says he encourages more Truman faculty, staff, students and student organizations to contribute or volunteer at fundraiser events to help reach United Way’s goal.
The Kickoff Celebration was first used four years ago to mark the start of United Way’s annual fall fundraiser, which lasts from mid-September to the end of the year. The Kickoff was Sept. 9th at the Jackson Stables near Thousand Hills State Park.
“It’s always a pleasure to work with the generous people of Kirksville and with Truman students,” Dungan says. “We love the enthusiasm, the creativity, and the energy that [Truman] students and staff can bring to our community.”
Patricia Selby, Heartland Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) program director, says her agency receives a lot of funding from United Way. Selby says Heartland RSVP is the Adair County branch of the national RSVP, which she says is a non-profit agency that helps people aged 55 and older to find and receive training for various volunteer programs that benefit their local communities. She says Heartland RSVP applied several years ago to be a partner agency and receive grants from United Way, while in turn she says it supports United Way’s annual fundraiser with proceeds from their own bake sales, as well as volunteering with door-to-door, neighborhood canvassing for United Way.
“At the time we applied, we had to spend about one-third of our time and effort every year into our own fundraising,” Selby says. “This helps us focus less on that and more on the needs of our volunteers and the work that they do.”
Selby says RSVP has other matching grants and funding from places such as Americorp, the Missouri Department of Transportation, and the Corporation for Community and National Service. She says she is glad they partnered with United Way so people know they are part of a common purpose.
Senior Elizabeth Roe, Community Engagement Intern of Truman’s SERVE Center, says United Way is one of the SERVE Center’s 100 or more Community Partners operating in the area. Roe says the SERVE Center acts as a liaison between Truman students and the Kirksville community, by helping students find local volunteer opportunities with partners such as United Way. She says Truman faculty and students can create a profile on truservice.truman.edu and browse volunteer opportunities in their specific areas of interest. She says there are several United Way positions available, including marketing and social media interns, on the TruService site. She says she encourages students to get involved in any kind of volunteer opportunity.
“Our biggest resource to students is their Truman service accounts,” Roe says. “And so it’s one of our biggest resources to the community.”