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United Way exceeds fundraising goal
March 06, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
The giving hearts of the community were in the spotlight as the United Way of Western Nebraska exceeded its $380,000 for the 2013-2014 campaign – raising $391,363.21 for member agencies.

Loaned executives from local companies went out into the community, telling the United Way story and getting contributors lined up. And three special events, the golf tournament, the Rubber Duck Dash and the Color Dash through Gering were held.

“The golf tournament and the Rubber Duck Dash have always been favorites with the community and have been a big fundraiser,” said Special Events and Marketing Coordinator Jeana Allen. “We added the Color Dash this year and it was very successful. We were overwhelmed with the response.”

Initially, the special events committee thought they’d be happy with maybe a hundred entrants. But that grew rapidly as close to 1,000 people entered the event. And the committee is hoping for 2,000 next year.

“Without our special events, we wouldn’t be able to reach our goal,” Allen said. “We really enjoy those events because it’s something fun the whole community can get involved in.”

Applications from 501 (c)(3) organizations for the 2014-2015 campaign year are still being accepted until March 7. United Way Director Stephanie Black said several new agencies have already applied.

United Way volunteers from the community are now in the process of inspecting applications, arranging interviews with the agencies and gathering information. On May 1, the group will meet to discuss which agencies will receive United Way support.

“We only have a limited amount of money, so not everyone will get all they ask for,” said current campaign co-chair Susan Wiedeman. “People who want to help with that process should contact the United Way offices.”

Current agencies being supported by United Way include CAPWN – Asset Building Choices, Longs Peak Council Boy Scouts of America, Buckboard Therapeutic Riding Academy, CAPstone, Carpenter Center, CASA of Scotts Bluff County, Cirrus House – Transitional Age Program, CAPWN – Community Ever Green House, Diaper Depot, Disability Rights Nebraska, DOVES, CAPWN – Foster Grandparents Program, NCAP – Foster Grandparents Program, Gering Multi-Purpose Senior Citizen Center, Guadalupe Center, Legal Aid of Nebraska, Monument Family Connections, Panhandle Humane Society, Panhandle Independent Living Services, Riverside Discovery Center – Education Outreach, Scotts Bluff County Volunteer Center, Scottsbluff Senior Center, Camp Scott Summer Program for Handicapped Children and CAPWN – Western Nebraska Child Development Center.

“We’re the luckiest community,” Black said. “We have great volunteers and a great community. Most people support everything that goes on in our community. Government funding has been shrinking, but the people have stepped up to help. People who are touched by the programs we support become our biggest supporters and our biggest givers. And with the overall economic trend, more people are in need of those services.”
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