United Way to celebrate campaign on June 18 at Commons

United Way of Bartholomew County leaders expect the nearly complete 2023-‘24 fundraising campaign to finish somewhere near last year’s $4.17 million mark. And that total will be celebrated from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the nonprofit’s free annual meeting June 18 at The Commons in downtown Columbus.

Last year’s figure once again led the state’s United Way campaigns in per-capita giving — which it has done for more than most of the past decade — and also landed the organization among the nation’s best in that category.

About 300 people, including leaders from nearly every sector of the community, attended.

United Way of Bartholomew County President Mark Stewart will speak at the upcoming gathering will provide an overview and review of the past months of work among 16 certified nonprofits operating nearly two dozen programs that reach about one-third of Bartholomew County residents.

“I think we feel pretty good about where we’re at right now (financially),” Stewart said. “But we don’t have a specific number to report yet.”

United Way’s fundraising campaign supports area nonprofits that lead mentoring programs for youth, sponsor recreational sports leagues, help older residents with exercise programs, provide struggling families with everything from clothing to furniture, help parents with child care classes, and train the underemployed for their next-level job.

“I think we’re satisfied (with the campaign),” Stewart said. “But what we’re going to do is get the focus more on our (practical) impact.”

He referred to the project launched at last year’s annual meeting to lift 1,000 local families out of poverty within 2,000 days, or five years. The agency recently earned a national award for its efforts thus far on that.

He mentioned in a recent story that more than 200 families already have been lifted into financial sufficiency, so he sees the initiative as “on target” for its ultimate goal. He added that the agency’s progress with struggling families currently is being measured in six-month increments.

“So, I’m thinking we will finish the project early,” he said. “Of course, we will then set a new goal.”

The event will kick off with light appetizers and a cash bar and will be followed by a program.

Organizers are asking people to planning to attend to register by going to uwbarthco.org and clicking on “Annual Meeting.”