Dining kicks off fundraiser

Columbus residents will have multiple opportunities to fill their bellies and in the process help a nonprofit agency devoted to education, financial stability and health.

Amazing Joe’s Grill, 2607 Central Ave., is having its annual United Way Campaign Kickoff Charity Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. All proceeds go to the United Way of Bartholomew County’s annual fundraising campaign, said Sarah Haefner, the agency’s director of resource development.

A little over a week later, on Sept. 23, Cummins’ Irwin Office Building United Way Committee is partnering with 12 downtown Columbus restaurants that have agreed to donate at least 10 percent of that day’s proceeds to the local United Way.

The United Way of Bartholomew County supports 22 certified nonprofit agencies. Its fundraising campaign last year raised $4.2 million. Its goal for the upcoming campaign is to exceed that total, but an exact number has not yet been set, Haefner said.

Cummins’ initiative with the downtown restaurants is part of its annual two-week fundraising effort to support United Way, which this year begins Monday and continues through Sept. 25. However, the money raised through the restaurants won’t count toward Cummins’ fundraising efforts, Haefner said.

The Cummins committee originally suggested setting up an around-the-world food event, but logistics made the group reconsider, said Kerrie Breeden, leader of the committee. However, members realized that many of the food themes they wanted for an around-the-world event already exist at downtown Columbus restaurants, so the group decided instead to contact restaurants and ask them to partner on the United Way initiative, she said.

The idea also worked well for Cummins’ fundraising efforts because of close proximity of the restaurants to Cummins’ multiple office buildings and high concentration of employees downtown, said Susan Staley, a committee member and a corporate sourcing analyst. It also fit perfectly with Cummins’ idea of corporate responsibility — to serve and improve communities in which its employees live, she said.

United Way helps a lot of people through the agencies it supports, Staley said, so restaurants have been eager to participate in the Sept. 23 event.

“As we’ve asked for support and partners, everyone has been willing,” she said.

Amazing Joe’s started its charity event four years ago. It started as a breakfast but changed to a lunch, said Jan Harris, United Way’s outgoing resource development director. That’s notable, she said, because the restaurant normally is open only for dinner.

“Columbus is unique — it’s very collaborative,” Haefner said. “Once it identifies a need, it’s very eager to rally around it,” she said.

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WHAT: 12 downtown Columbus restaurants have agreed to donate at least 10 percent of their day’s proceeds on Sept. 23 to the United Way of Bartholomew County’s annual fundraising campaign.


Power House Brewing Company, 322 Fourth St.

Puccini’s Smiling Teeth, 318 Washington St.

Yats, 325 Fourth St.

Joe Willy’s, 1034 Washington St.

The Savory Swine, 410 Washington St.

4th Street Bar & Grill, 433 Fourth St.

Tre Bicchieri, 425 Washington St.

Taku Japanese Steakhouse, 305 Fourth St.

Dairy Queen, 616 Third St.

Subway, 300 Washington St.

Jordy McTaggart’s, 310 Washington St.

The Garage Pub & Grill, 308 Fourth St.

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WHAT: Amazing Joe’s Grill United Way Campaign Kickoff Charity Luncheon

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Amazing Joe’s, 2607 Central Ave., Columbus

COST: $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Advance tickets available at Amazing Joe’s; United Way of Bartholomew County 1531 13th St., Columbus; or online at uwbarthco.org/amazing-joes-campaign-kickoff-charity-lunch