By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Setting the pace for good
UWCK honors key businesses, organizations, individuals
united way pacesetters
Representatives of the United Way of Central Kansas’ Pacesetter contributors pose with UWCK Executive Director Charell Owings following the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce coffee Thursday morning at Marmie Ford. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

As host of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce coffee Thursday morning, United Way of Central Kansas Executive Director Charell Owings praised the 15 2023 Pacesetter businesses and organizations that support the myriad UWCK-funded agencies and make its projects possible.

“I want to honor the businesses and individuals who make United Way function,” she said to the large crowd gathered at Marmie Ford for the event. “For all you do to support United Way and to make projects  possible in our community, thank you.” 

Approximately half the funds that UWCK raises every year comes from 30 workplace campaigns. “These donations ranging from just 50 cents per pay period to $100 per pay period, but all adds up,” she said.

Each campaign, UWCK calculates the top workplace campaigns - combining donor contributions and corporate dollars to determine the pacesetters, Owings said. 

This year, these 15 businesses raised 44% of the total, bringing in over $90,000. These awards have been given since 2015 and the average amount the awardees generate is $100,000.

The 15 top workplace campaigns were:

• Gold overall – Dillons – Great Bend and Larned

• Silver overall – First Kansas Bank (silver in per-capita)

• Bronze overall – One Gas (Kansas Gas Service)  

• Adams Brown LLC (bronze in per-capita) 

• Barton County

• The City of Great Bend

• Farmers Bank and Trust

• Marmie Auto Group

• Midwest Energy

• Northern Natural Gas

• Pawnee Valley Community Hospital

• Spectrum CPA Partners (gold in per-capita for third straight year)

• Superior Essex

• University of Kansas Health System - Great Bend Campus

• USD 428

In other honors:

2023 highest percentage change 

• Keller Real Estate & Insurance Agency

2023 Business Leadership Award 

• Pawnee Valley Community Hospital

“They’ve become very engaged with some of our impact programs,” she said. “And they’re always looking for ways to strengthen our communities and work with us.”

2023 Leadership Award

• Vicki Richardson with the Kansas Children’s Service League

“She is knowledgeable about the needs of our community or her job and her involvement with numerous organizations across the county,” Owings said. “She gives up her time her talents and her ideas all to help those in need.”

“United Way has always been a special place for me over the years,” Richardson. She served as a co-chair for an annual drive about 30 years ago.

She is part of Communities Organizing to Promote Equity (COPE) which joined UWCK and others to bring Laundry Love to Great Bend and Larned. In the last 10 months, this program has helped 208 families do nearly 1,000 loads of wash in Great Bend alone.

This helps families maintain their dignity by having clean clothing and, more importantly, it allows for community connections and interactions, Richardson said.

Funds raised through the workplace campaign support UWCK’s 22 community partners and impact programming across Barton and Pawnee counties. With a focus on health, education, and financial stability, United Way provides financial support to non-profits across Central Kansas who are doing the work to help those in need. To learn more about their work visit