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$1 million donation by Cummins Foundation boost for United Way

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Cummins Foundation donated $1.1 million Friday to the United Way of Bartholomew County fundraising campaign, pushing the total to $3.4 million.

The campaign goal is a record $4 million.

The latest Cummins donation, $83,000 more than last year, is the company’s annual dollar-for-dollar match for the recently completed employee campaign.

Those gifts annually constitute the bulk of the campaign that funds 29 area agencies and programs. Those agencies cover a variety of programs, including child-mentoring efforts, senior health and sports leagues.

Rich Freeland, Cummins’ vice president and president of its Engine Business division, said employees “understand their contributions directly benefit agencies and, more importantly, the people the agencies serve, who need our assistance the most.”

Jan Harris, United Way’s director of resource development, said Cummins’ efforts should serve as inspiration.

“I think Cummins’ generosity should make all the rest of us want to be a part of this,” Harris said, adding that employees’ $5 and $10 per-week pledges made the big match possible. “That’s huge.”

Cummins recently was recognized as one of America’s most community-minded companies in The Civic 50, the first scientific evaluation of companies that best use their time, talent and resources to improve the quality of life where they do business.

United Way President Mark Stewart said he is now “cautiously optimistic” that the fund drive will finish at the end of January at somewhere between $3.9 million and $4.1 million. Last year’s record $3.7 million mark led the 64 United Ways campaigns across Indiana in per-capita giving at slightly more than $50 per resident, according to the Indiana Association of United Ways.

“I’m excited for what this means for the community,” Stewart said.

But he added that he is uncertain what increase some agencies could see if the $4 million total is reached.

“A lot of that still depends upon donor-designated funds,” he said.

In the campaign, donors can choose particular agencies or organizations for their money. Frequently, they select those where they live outside Bartholomew County. About 25 percent of the funds each year are donor-designated, Stewart said.

Plus, in the past, because of donor designations, about 13 percent of the total funds have been distributed to agencies in other counties where donors live.

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