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United Way of Central Kansas honors Pacesetters
united way pacesetter pic
Pictured are representatives of the United Way of Central Kansas Pacesetter Businesses which were honored at the UWCK’s annual Pacesetter Luncheon Tuesday afternoon at the Best Western Courtyard in Great Bend. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

It was a time to relate stories of success, say thanks and honor the businesses that contributed the lion’s share to the 2019 United Way of Central Kansas campaign. UWCK held its annual Pacesetter Businesses Luncheon and Awards Ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Best Western Courtyard in Great Bend. 

Each year, UWCK calculates the Top 15 business donors in Barton and Pawnee counties. These totals include the Workplace Giving Campaigns, sponsorships and volunteerism, said UWCK Executive Director Gaila Demel.

“Without these generous business owners and employees, UWCK would not be able to support our 22 community partners and our community impact programs,” Demel said. Those honored Tuesday raised nearly $100,000 for UWCK in the 2019 effort. 

“It is always our pleasure to acknowledge the Pacesetters as our Workplace Campaign business leaders,” she said. UWCK recognizes the top 15 firms who account for over 50% of its total pledges for the annual drive. 

The luncheon is an opportunity for the community partners to sit with the campaign coordinators, managers and/or owners of the Pacesetter Businesses to share their stories and to thank them for their continued support, Demel said. “I, personally, love to share how proud I am of all the generous donors we work with throughout the campaign year and to thank them as well as our community partners for their hard work they do every day.”   

The top three workplace campaigns were awarded to:

• Gold overall - ONEOK Inc.

• Silver overall - Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball

• Bronze overall - Dillons 

Rounding out the top 15 were:

• Benefit Management LLC

• City of Great Bend

• CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions

• Farmers Bank and Trust 

• Great Bend COOP

• Larned State Hospital

• Marmie’s Auto Group

• Midwest Energy

• Northern Natural Gas

• Superior Essex

• USD 428

• Venture Corporation

To even the playing field between large and small businesses, UWCK also recognizes the top three per capita businesses. Those businesses were:

• Gold - Spectrum CPA Partnership

• Silver - Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball

• Bronze - Northern Natural Gas

The United Way of Central Kansas also honored businesses who increased their giving and involvement with UWCK over the last year. 

• Highest Percentage Change - Sunflower Bank with a 117% increase from the prior year due to their increase in Workplace Giving and its involvement and sponsorship of Reality U.

• Outstanding Workplace Campaign - Larned State Hospital for its renewed motivation to support UWCK through a donut fundraiser with Mitchell’s Bakery and increased giving through their Workplace Campaign.

• Also honored was a couple who embodies the mission of United Way. Recognized were Barry and Monica Bowers who were honored with the Leadership Award for being the epitome of what UWCK strives to do.

“They not only give funds to support the cause, but support through time, and by setting an example of mobilizing the community to advance the common good,” Demel said. “They not only support UWCK, but many of our community partners.” 

The final award of the day was sponsored by Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers in the form of the mobile sundae bar. Five businesses had 100% participation in their Workplace Giving Campaigns and were entered in a drawing to win the sundae bar prize. 

The businesses entered were:

• Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball

• Great Bend Children’s Learning Center

• Keller Real Estate

• Marmie’s Auto Group

• Spectrum CPA Partnership

The winner was Great Bend Children’s Learning Center.