United Way of Putnam County sets annual goal of $200,000

Saturday, August 25, 2012
United Way of Putnam County Board member Murray Pride rallies the organization's supporters at Friday's annual campaign kick-off breakfast.

One nickel each day.

United Way Vice President and Campaign Chair Dave Bohmer made a simple illustration to the organization's supporters Friday morning with the second-most humble of the American coins.

If each of Putnam County's 38,000 residents set aside five cents each day, the United Way of Putnam County could raise just shy of $700,000 in a year.

By comparison, the goal of $200,000 for the 2012-13 campaign seems modest. The figure was announced Friday at the annual breakfast to kick off the campaign and the annual Day of Caring.

Last year's campaign raised $180,000.

"That probably sounds ambitious, but ($200,000) will get us close to the level we were at 10 years ago," Bohmer said.

Bohmer recognized the 2012 pacesetters for the campaign, those individuals and businesses who have already made pledges -- Cedar View Farms, Fillmore Christian Church, Old National Bank, Tom and Betty Graffis, Jennifer Edwards, Yvonne Braden and Hammer & Co., CPA.

Bohmer introduced the morning's keynote speaker, United Way board member and Eminence Schools Superintendent Murray Pride.

As a visual reminder of goals of the United Way of Putnam County's partner agencies, Executive Director Jennifer Edwards put together this Wordle "word cloud." A description of each of the 12 partner agencies was entered into a computer, and the more often a word was repeated, the larger it appeared in the final art. Prominent in this piece are the words children, community, needs and, most prominent, provides.

In an impassioned speech, Pride sought to stir the same feelings of pride he feels in the United Way of Putnam County and its mission.

"I am a believer in what we do, and I have been for a long time," Pride said.

Of course, Pride acknowledged that he was "preaching to the choir" speaking to people who already support the United Way.

"It's those folks who are not here who we have to convince of the impact of this campaign on our community," he said.

Pride shared the meaning of the word community and how these factors are important to the United Way and what it does for its partner agencies.

A community, Pride pointed out, is a group of people in a specific locality with a common government and a common culture and heritage.

But in making his most important point, Pride had to turn to the bastion of human knowledge that is Wikipedia.

According to Wiki-pedia, "A community is a group or society, helping each other."

Helping each other, Pride said, is at the heart of United Way's stated goals of promoting education, income and health.

Helping each other is, in its simplest form, the goal of the United Way of Putnam County's 12 partner agencies -- American Red Cross, Hope Haven Horse Farm, Johnson Nichols Health Clinic, Mental Health America, Youth Development Commission, Family Support Services, Comprehensive Services, Putnam County Chaplaincy Association, Council on the Aging and Retired, Reading Improvement Center, Summer Enrichment Program and YMCA of Clay County.

"Look at the agencies listed in our brochure and tell me they don't make an impact in this community," Pride said. "Ask them what they would do without United Way making a contribution.

"These are our people who need our help," he added, "and we must continue to support them."

United Way Executive Director Jennifer Edwards introduced the service projects, which began with service to Hope Haven and the Greencastle Housing Authority on Friday.

The project continue today with projects around the community from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. New DePauw students are involved with the projects as part of the DePauw First Year Service Plunge.

President Tom Graffis pointed to a change of name to emphasize this year's focus on actively servicing. Instead of Day of Caring, the event was rebranded as the Day of Service.

"You can care all you want, but if you don't do anything, so what?" Graffis said. "I guess we'll call it the Day of Caring Service."

For information on supporting the United Way of Putnam County 2012-13 annual campaign, contact Edwards at 653-5638 or visit unitedwayofputnamcounty.org.

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