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UWCK reaches goal
Efforts of volunteers and donors appreciated
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United Way of Central Kansas board members pose for a photo after reaching the 2017 fundraising goal. From left: Dianne Call, Regan Reif, Karen Van Brimmer, Leslie Mingenback, Becca Maxwell, Executive Director Julie Bugner-Smith, cochair Cole Reif, Desa Marmie-Behr, Ron Smith and Tatum Dunekack. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

 United Way of Central Kansas has reached its goal of $275,000 for 2017, UWCK Executive Director Julie Smith said. 

“With the hard work of our dedicated board members, community agencies, local businesses and individual donors, they will be able to support their 23 community partners, and continue their work with community impact programs,” she said. This year United Way of Central Kansas joined forces with Hoisington United Way to consolidate all of Barton and Pawnee counties. 

With that consolidation, UWCK gained two new board members, Bill Lowry and Karen Van Brimmer. They also added four more agencies that are now being funded by UWCK, Hoisington Community Food Bank, Hoisington Historical Society, Commission on Aging, and Toys for Tots, along with the 19 partners it already funds, Smith said. This meant they had no choice but to meet that goal of $275,000.   

The annual campaign to raise funds began in August with the annual kickoff event, “Stars, Stripes, United Way Forever.” That patriotic theme carried throughout the campaign. The campaign wrapped up August with Stuff the Bus in Ellinwood, Great Bend, Hoisington, and Larned. 

In October, a new community impact program was brought to the area with Reality U. “This program took place at Great Bend Middle School and was a great success with students, teachers, and parents,” Smith said. 

The goal of the program was to teach students more about the finances they will face when they leave home and how the choices that they are making now, will affect their future success and opportunities. 

UWCK also held a poster contest with the local fifth graders. Winners were announced at high school football games throughout the area. 

Other highlights included:

• The annual casino night was held with the help of the Sidewinders Motorcycle Club in Ellinwood, adding to other outside fundraising.

• UW volunteers distributed Literacy Kits to pre-K students.

• Boxes of Love were delivered to homebound senior citizens.

• Volunteers read to preschoolers for Dr. Seuss Day.  

“Thanks to the support of these programs, Pacesetter companies, payroll donors, and individual donors who believe in the work that UWCK does every day, they met their goal,” Smith said.  

Cochairs this year were Chuck and Meg Wilson, Kevin and Kista Holt, and Cole and Regan Reif, along with board members Desa Marmie-Behr, Mark Mingenback, John Cross, Dianne Call, Leslie Mingenback, Carol Dema, Regan Reif, Tatum Dunekack, Laura Smith, Jane Fox, Ron Smith, Tama Hanson, Kevyn Soupiset, Becca Maxwell, Karen Van Brimmer and Bill Lowry. 

“We are incredibly grateful for our giving community,” Smith said. “When you give to United Way you can rest assured that your money is staying local.”