By: Juli Metzger—
Muncie, IN—United Way of Delaware County, for the third consecutive year, surpassed its campaign goal, raising $1,506,070 million. The goal was $1.5 million. And the United Way Board of Directors, signaling its high regard for Pat Botts, a former long-serving board and committee member, who died last fall, named its volunteer of the year award in his honor.
“Pat Botts was the kind of board member, volunteer—human being that the rest of us aspire to be more like,” said Jenni Marsh, United Way President and Chief Executive Officer. Marsh shared at the campaign’s closing event Thursday that Botts was a part of her first day of work at United Way and trusted advisor thereafter. Supporters gathered at the Ivy Tech John and Janice Fisher building in downtown Muncie.
United Way’s Board Chair Kevin Woehler was recognized with the award. Woehler, a group manager for Muncie Power Products Technology Solutions Group, has been an active and engaged board member. In addition to chairing the board, serving on multiple United Way Committees, as well as a regional United Way committee, he also worked as a loaned executive—oftentimes supporting his fellow Muncie Power Products campaign volunteers as they made calls on behalf of United Way.
The consistent campaign success signals the community’s embrace of the bold goal to end generational poverty here, Marsh said. Nearly half of Delaware County households live in poverty or are one crisis away from it. It’s often a vicious generational cycle. These working families face obstacles in reaching health, education, and financial stability.
To conquer generational poverty, the United Way has targeted 2024 for the year all third graders will be reading at grade level— the single greatest indicator of a child’s success in school and life. Campaign contributions, focused on better educational outcomes, are strategically invested in local programs to help put children on a pathway out of poverty.
Campaign Co-Chairs and Muncie Power Products Executive Team members Liz Ludwick and Damon Elmore led a team of 16 Campaign Volunteers supported by 25 Loaned Executives. More than 50 companies made corporate gifts and 111 companies ran workplace campaigns. Between the campaign co-chairs and United Way staff more than 125 presentations were given.
“This dynamic duo really put the fun in this fundraising effort. They came at the work with great care and concern that everyone was given the opportunity to engage and be a part of this important effort to put children on a pathway out of poverty through better literacy,” explained Marsh.
This year, the Tocqueville Society grew again. These are donors who give $10,000 or more annually. In 2016, United Way had just three individuals who gave at this high level. In this campaign, there are 14 Tocqueville Society members.
Loaned Executives—those professionals whose employers allow them time to work for United Way’s campaign, managed over 175 accounts—and garnered new gifts and support. They also led Day of Giving—a single day of philanthropy toward the end of campaign intended to close the gap. In that single effort, the LEs raised $31,000.
Director of Resource Development Denise King worked closest with the Loaned Executives who were led by volunteers Kristen McCauliff, associate provost for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development at Ball State University and Jennifer Stanley, professional stylist and writer.
“United Way’s work was at the forefront of the Loaned Execs minds in everything they did,” said King. “The level of energy and enthusiasm and how they worked together as a team was really remarkable.”
The United Way has made huge strides in providing free, educational resources to local families last year. These strides include bringing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – program providing children (ages newborn to 5 years old) with a free monthly, high-quality book – to Delaware County residents. There are 1,000 children enrolled in the program.
Additionally, the United Way created Reading Clubs, placing passionate community volunteers in afterschool literacy clubs. Volunteers share their love of reading, while working alongside the students to improve their reading and comprehensive skills. The United Way runs three reading clubs for third graders at local elementary schools. The interventionist clubs change the trajectory of students’ reading skills early on.
“Statistically 80 percent of children from low-income families are not reading at grade level. Early childhood education can change the trajectory of one’s life. It can end generational poverty,” Marsh said.
United Way in Delaware County has raised nearly $4 million over the last three years. Each of the campaigns in 2017, 2018 and 2019 surpassed its goal. Since 1925, the Delaware County community has given more than $275 million, in today’s dollars, to provide a lifeline to its neighbors in need.
The 2020 campaign co-chairs were announced. Jeff Scott, chancellor at Ivy Tech in Muncie and Alica Wells, Ivy Tech’s Director of Community Engagement and Wraparound Support, will lead the Delaware County campaign. Scott will join Jeannie Hamblin Fox, the Executive Director of Ivy Tech in Henry County for the Henry County campaign effort.
You can view more photos of the event at this United Way Facebook Photo Album.
You may watch the entire announcement and program via the video below which was livestreamed by MuncieJournal.com during the event. (38 minutes.)
United Way Campaign Results Event
Posted by Muncie Journal on Thursday, January 23, 2020
About United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties
United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties focusing resources on education, health, and financial stability. The non-profit fights to create lasting change in community conditions. With its bold goal to reach grade-level reading by 2024, United Way works to help children read at or above grade level by the end of their third-grade year. Learn more at invitedtoliveunited.org.