The United Way of Bartholomew County fundraising campaign, which supports services that reach nearly one-third of local residents, kicks off with a Friday lunch — and an aim to add more business and corporate campaigns than in 2016-17.

Friday also marks United Way’s Day of Service, in which about 400 people are expected to fan out throughout the community completing 18 different service projects. Those range from a variety of efforts at the America and Roby Anderson Community Center to landscaping on the grounds of places such as Columbus Municipal Airport and First Presbyterian Church, said Angie Huebel, director of the local Volunteer Action Center.

The lunch, open to all, will be provided from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Amazing Joe’s, 2607 Central Ave. in Columbus. Thanks to Amazing Joe’s, the full $10 cost goes directly to the campaign. In fact, 100 percent all donations during the campaign, expected to stretch through February, go directly toward United Way’s work.

Separate, corporate support funds the local United Way’s administrative and overhead costs, said Kyle Hendrix, marketing and communications coordinator for the agency., a national measurement for nonprofits’ trustworthiness and effectiveness, has given United Way a score of 97 out of a possible 100 points, and its highest four-star rating.

The Bartholomew County drive supports 21 agencies operating 33 programs in the county, ranging from mentoring youth to helping victims of domestic violence to assisting the jobless in finding work.

Last season’s campaign ended at $4.1 million, just shy of the previous campaign’s $4.24 million. Yet, because of additional grants, revenue for 2016 was still higher than 2015, according to United Way figures.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.