United Way ready to celebrate campaign impact Tuesday

The United Way of Bartholomew County will announce Tuesday what officials describe as a successful total — one keeping it at the top of the state’s per capita giving ratio — from its recently completed annual fundraising drive.

And United Way will celebrate the impact of its work via 21 nonprofit agencies in the 2018 calendar year at its annual meeting at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Commons. The gathering that begins with a social time at 4 p.m. regularly attracts 200 to 300 community leaders representing social service to business.

United Way of Bartholomew County President Mark Stewart said that he again is impressed by local residents’ care and concern about others represented in this year’s fundraising total.

United Way programs include everything from its free tax help to senior exercise to mentoring programs for youngsters. Figures in recent years regularly have shown that United Way programs touch about two-thirds of the Bartholomew County’s population of about 77,000 people.

“I have been in the nonprofit world for 25-plus years, and I am constantly amazed at the generosity of this community,” Stewart said. “I think it’s just in our DNA.”

For much of the past decade, statistics from the Indiana Association of United Ways have shown that Bartholomew County’s fundraising campaign per capita giving puts it ahead of all other campaigns in the state. Plus, it’s worth noting that all of the funds raised locally go directly to the cause since separate support covers the agency’s overhead and salaries.

“A lot of the generosity is about people today having an even better understanding of what we do in this community and our work to bring people together (to help),” Stewart said.

He also mentioned that the latest fundraising total is due in part to an especially strong fundraising campaign in the manufacturing sector. Though Stewart has earned praise for his United Way leadership, he regularly passes fundraising campaign credit to volunteers he and others call “campaign champions.”

“Some of these people are getting up very early in the morning to cook a breakfast at their company to raise money (for the campaign),” Stewart said.

Tuesday’s meeting will also include a recap of statistics relating to United Way’s work.

And it also is expected in part to highlight United Way’s push to help more residents move toward financial stability via programs such as its Avenues to Opportunity — a team approach among United Way and partners such as Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center, Human Services Inc., Sans Souci, Turning Point Domestic Violence Services and others.

“A lot of people still tend to think about poverty purely in terms of income,” Stewart said. “And that’s an important piece of it. But there also are a lot of other dimensions that go along with that such as a person’s employment status, education, housing status and other things. In order to get them out of poverty and help them stay out of poverty, we need to focus on all of those things.”

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What: The United Way of Bartholomew County annual meeting

When: Meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Social time begins at 4 p.m. 

Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St. in Columbus

Admission: Free

Information: 812-375-2202