Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 17, 2013

United Way exceeds goals

Organization raises $1.88 million in 2012 campaign.

By Lindsey Ziliak
Tribune staff writer

— The United Way of Howard County surpassed its 2012 campaign goal by raising $1,884,056, officials announced.

When campaign chairwoman Marilyn Skinner revealed the number at a United Way celebration Thursday night, she received a standing ovation from supporters.

“Don’t clap for me,” she said. “Clap for yourselves. You did it.”

Skinner said she learned from this campaign that the people of Howard County are more generous than she even realized.

“Even people who had very little were willing to help with $5 or $10,” she said. “Every little bit helps.”

Skinner said she focused this year on making sure people knew about the agencies that United Way supports.

And she asked anyone and everyone if they were willing to help. Oftentimes, she found that people didn’t give because they just didn’t know about the organization, she said.

Her persistence and the persistence of the loaned associates paid off.

This year, United Way added an additional 102 accounts.

“That really helped us through,” Skinner said.

So did Chrysler’s giving.

The company increased its donations by $170,000, and an additional 600 employees gave this year.

Their total donation to United Way was about $600,000.

Company officials said they held competitions to raise money and gave away prizes to those who participated. They let employees wear jeans on Friday for a $5 donation.

Officials also targeted employees who had not donated before by taking them on tours of the United Way agencies to see how the donations are used.

Even with all that support, the organization was still below its campaign goal on Wednesday.

Then, on Wednesday night, employees from Haynes International and Delphi battled it out at Applebee’s to raise more money.

The volunteers acted as servers for the night, and all tips were donated to United Way.

It was the first time either company participated in the friendly competition.

“We didn’t know what we were doing,” said Rhonda Heytens from Delphi. “We had no clue.”

Volunteers did magic tricks, painted faces and held raffles to solicit donations during the competition.

In four hours, the two companies made $11,000. Delphi won the battle by raising $9,000.

And they broke a United Way record.

“Our best battle before that only made $5,000,” said Lori Tate, United Way president.

That money helped the organization top its goal of $1.875 million.

The final tally was still below the $2 million goal that Skinner had set for herself, but she said she couldn’t complain.

She said Howard County once again stepped up to the plate, and she couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.

“It takes a village to raise a campaign,” she said. “It’s been a great year.”