Archive for Tuesday, September 15, 2015

United Way of Douglas County shifts goals for 2015 campaign

September 15, 2015

United Way of Douglas County is taking a fresh approach this year for its annual fall campaign.

Colleen Gregoire, United Way of Douglas County vice president and campaign manager, said instead of shooting for a particular dollar goal, the goal of the 2015 campaign, which kicked off Sept. 2, was to increase donors and volunteerism. Locally, the goal is to increase the number of Baldwin City’s donors by 25 percent from 136 contributors to 170.

Success would amount to the same as more dollars for the local organizations the United Way supports, but the added donors will help make more sustainable United Way’s effort to support those agencies making a difference in the lives of Douglas County residents, Gregoire said.

“We’re really focusing on our results,” she said. “United Way is about helping children stay in school so they can graduate and have better lives, directing people to where they can find health care and providing in-home services so our seniors can be more independent and have a better quality of life.”

United Way of Douglas County supports local organizations such as the Boy and Girl scouts, but other organizations with a countywide focus also are very active in Baldwin City, Gregoire said. Some, such as the Willow Domestic Violence Center, provide critical services for which there are no local options. The Douglas County Dental Clinic provided Baldwin City residents with service 157 times during 2014, and Ballard Community Services another 274. In all, United Way supported organization provided service last year to members of this community 4,020 times.

Heading the county campaign this year are Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson and his wife, Kathy Branson. The local United Way outlined three goals for the coming year at its Sept. 2 kickoff. The are:

  • Education: To ensure incoming kindergartners are prepared to succeed and that fourth- and fifth-grade students are proficient in math and reading.
  • Health: To help everyone in Douglas County live healthy lifestyles and have access to mental and physical health care.
  • Self-sufficiency: To make sure all Douglas County residents have “gainful employment and affordable housing,” and support the transition “from crisis to independence.”

Gregoire said Baldwin City campaign events were being considered but nothing yet was scheduled. County events of note in the coming months include:

  • BrainFood book drive and the next chapter service event from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 26 at The United Way Center, 2518 Ridge Court in Lawrence.
  • Chili hoedown (a chili and cornbread competition) from 5 to 10 p.m. Oct. 3 at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Lawrence, 5700 W. Sixth St.
  • Re-Kickulously Healthy Kickball Tournament, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cot. 11 at Rock Chalk Park. Team entry fees are $100 and admission in $5.
  • Brighter Tomorrow Poverty Awareness Effort. A mult-media installation starting Nov. 14 at the Lawrence Public Library.

Caitlin Doornbos contributed to this story

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