Press Release: United Way Kicks Off Annual Campaign and Introduces Community Volunteer Initiative

UWCIL LogoUnited Way of Central Illinois kicked off its 2013 Annual Campaign at a breakfast at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Springfield today. In addition to the campaign kickoff, United Way introduced a new volunteer initiative launched in partnership with U.S. Bank, to better connect a community of volunteers with the nonprofits that need their help.

The Kickoff Breakfast marks the start of United Way’s annual fundraising effort and gives the organization an opportunity to thank local companies, donors and volunteers for their generosity and commitment to our community. United Way’s Board of Directors were joined by more than 350 guests including donors, business and community leaders, volunteers, and nonprofit leadership.

“This year, our goal is to raise as much money for community services as possible,” said Dan Rayhill, Controller/Assistant Vice President at Hanson Professional Services, Inc. and United Way’s 2013 Campaign Chair. “We believe that all of us should strive for the day in which volunteers charged with making funding decisions are not challenged with requests that far exceed available funds.”

Last year, United Way funded 39 local programs providing food, shelter, healthcare, victim services, and educational initiatives. Yet, strained agency budgets led to funding requests which exceeded available United Way funds by more $1 million. “A successful campaign should not be defined by whether we reach a monetary goal, but rather by our ability to meet every funding request that creates positive, measurable outcomes in our community,” said Rayhill.

United Way’s annual campaign is a vital part of the organization’s work because 100% of every dollar given to United Way goes to support local programs. At present, United Way’s Community Fund supports 39 programs with $1.7 million in funding. This funding is in addition to donor gifts designated for specific agencies and fundraising to support United Way programs such as Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, FamilyWize and 2-1-1.

“Thousands of families in our community depend on health and human service programs to maintain a reasonable quality of life,” said John Kelker, President of United Way. “Those individuals are depending on us to mobilize local resources to provide the vital services they depend on.”

This year’s campaign received a boost from United Way’s Pacesetter companies. These 11 businesses together with United Way leadership and member agencies set the pace by running early and aggressive workplace campaigns. Their enthusiasm and generosity resulted in a Pacesetter campaign total of $674,000.

This year’s Pacesetter companies include:

Bank of Springfield
Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce
Hanson Professional Services
Illini Bank
Illinois National Bank
Kerber, Eck and Braeckel
Memorial Medical Center
Scheels
Sikich
Springfield Electric
Town and Country Bank

United Way also introduced a new volunteer web application and community initiative sponsored by U.S. Bank. The new web application, named Get Connected, provides an easy-to-use platform for nonprofits organizations to post volunteer opportunities, in-kind gift requests, employment opportunities and upcoming events. Members of the community may view agency profiles, needs and upcoming events; sign up for volunteer opportunities online; follow their favorite organizations; receive notifications of newly posted needs; and track service hours.

“U.S. Bank is proud to announce its sponsorship of United Way’s new volunteer platform,” said Michael Johnson, Central Illinois Region President at U.S. Bank. “Today we usher in a new era where people not only think of United Way as the organization that mobilizes local resources to meet community needs, but they think of United Way as the organization that mobilizes a community of volunteers into action.”

United Way announced three community incentives totaling $2,000 to support local charities as a part of the sponsorship.

  1. One individual who volunteers using Get Connected prior to March 7, 2014 will earn $500 to be donated to the charity of their choice.
  2. One group/company that volunteers as a group using Get Connected prior to March 7, 2014, will earn $500 to be donated to the charity of their choice.
  3. One nonprofit 501c(3) organization will receive a $1,000 donation based on the website activity and volunteer engagement.

“The greatest impediment to volunteerism is often an individual or group’s ability to easily identify different opportunities around our community,” said Kelker. “Whether you are a high school student in need of service hours or a volunteer coordinator for a local employer, Get Connected provides an easy to use, central location where you can view the volunteer needs around our community.”

About Get Connected

The launch of Get Connected was scheduled to coincide with the campaign kick-off and United Way’s Fall Day of Action on October 4, 2013. However, United Way made the decision to launch the website early to help mobilize in-kind donations following a fire at a group home operated by United Cerebral Palsy Land of Lincoln in early August. Get Connected can be found by clicking the “Volunteer” tab on United Way of Central Illinois’ website or at http://volunteer.springfieldunitedway.org.

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For more information on United Way, please contact Jarid Brown, Director of Communications
at 217-726-7000 or by email at jbrown@uwcil.org.