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United Way of Central Kansas tops goal
new deh united way pic
United Way of Central Kansas Board members, 2015 campaign co-chairs and UWCK officials gathered in front of the thermometer at Main an Broadway Thursday afternoon. They were celebrating that UWCK had surpassed its fundraising goal. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 United Way of Central Kansas partner agencies include:
• Barton County Youth Care
• Barton County Young Men’s Organization
• Quivira Council Boy Scouts of America
• Catholic Social Service
• Central Kansas CASA Inc.
• Camp Pawnee
• Caring Hands Daycare Larned Kansas
• Child Abuse Prevention Education
• Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Larned and Ellinwood
• Eldercare Inc.
• Ellinwood Heritage Senior Center
• Family Crisis Center
• Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland
• Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice
• Great Bend Children’s Learning Center
• Habitat for Humanity
• Meals on Wheels
• Central Kansas Volunteers in Action
• Salvation Army
• Teen Court
• United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas

United Way of Central Kansas Executive Director Julie Bugner Smith had good news for her board members and campaign co-chairs Wednesday. She announced that the 2015 fundraising drive had met and surpassed its goal.
The campaign had a target of $270,000, but topped that by $25,000 following a final pledge from Fuller Industries.
“The best campaign yet,” Smith said. “This just shows how people here come together to help others.”
But, “it takes a village,” she said. “This goal-breaking record is due to the community support, the hard work of the UWCK Executive Volunteer Board members, 2015 co-chairs, the community partners United Way supports and all the countless volunteers.
“I am humbled by the generosity of all,” Smith said. “On behalf on the 19 community partners we serve, thank you.”
With 99 percent of the money raised staying in the Barton and Pawnee county communities served by UWCK, every contribution made can make a difference, she said. United Way of Central Kansas helps support 19 community agencies in Barton and Pawnee counties, as well as other programs such as the Born Learning Trail in Claflin and Great Bend, and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Ellinwood and Larned.
Smith held high praise for the effort’s leaders. She ran off a list of accomplishments:
• 2015 Board Chairs Laura and Jim Smith made an impact in Pawnee County, adding Country Living of Larned as a new UWCK payroll company and Jim was instrumental in spearheading the increase in giving at Larned State Hospital where he is employed.
• With the leadership of Tama Hanson, Jane Fox, Kevyn and Paulette Soupiset, Pawnee County increased giving by 41 percent. This money will continue to support the agencies and helped the Welcome Inn, Parents as Teachers and continues to fund the Imagination Library and benefits all in their community.
• In Ellinwood community, Dr. Charlie and Denise Joslin brought Ellinwood District Hospital on board and helped support the new UWCK involved Crunch Out Obesity pilot program in the school district. Board members Becca Maxwell and Ronda Sjogren were instrumental in spreading the UWCK mission and continuing to promote Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
• In Great Bend Dr. Perry and Krista Smith helped increased giving at Great Bend Regional Hospital and were generous with their time volunteering and promoting United Way.
• Rick Chochon, the newest UWCK Board member has help establish the new Pacesetter campaign to acknowledge the top 15 payroll givers to the 2105 campaign. “He brings a wealth of knowledge from his leadership role and the United Way of Columbus in Nebraska,” Smith said.
• Dianne Call spearheaded the Stuff the Bus fundraiser, which continues to grow and Dillon’s joined this year with Wal-Mart and Shopko to double the giving to much needed items to the agencies served.
• Leslie and Mark Mingenback and Carol Dema, make the kickoff a success.
• UWCK Board members Steve Kummer and Desa Marmie made the Born Learning Trail a reality in Great Bend and Claflin along with partnership of the City of Great Bend and Claflin, Barton County Young Professionals, CUNA, Thelma Harms Trust and Golden Belt Community Foundation.
• UWCK Board President John Cross, and Board members Tatum Dunekack and Erika Brining were behind the scene volunteering and promoting the UWCK mission.
• Board member Ron Smith took the oilfield campaign with Frank Kelly and Scott Redding to a new level and raised nearly $30,000 for the campaign with a radio a thon and their determination to make a difference in our community.
“As you can tell UWCK is supported by a very involved board and co-chairs whom believe in being the change in their community,” Smith said. “New and exciting projects will continue to better our community in the next campaign and a sincere thank you to everyone involved and the believers that our community is the best.”
For more information, call Smith at 620-792-2403 or go to