Community volunteers, businesses and residents have pledged more money to the United Way of Johnson County than the previous year, pushing the helping agency to within 1 percent of its goal.
Of the $1.5 million goal, $1,486,000 was raised through the nonprofit’s annual fundraising campaign, which began in August and ended Tuesday, officials announced at the annual celebration dinner at the Johnson County fairgrounds. Last year, the campaign raised $1.45 million.
Leaders have collected $30,000 more in donations or pledges than last year.
That money will be used to fund local non-profit agencies that serve Johnson County for the next year.
The United Way of Johnson County funds 17 agencies, including the Boys and Girls Club, Arthur Baxter YMCA, Johnson County Senior Services, the Social of Greenwood, Human Services and Youth Connections. Starting next year, that will grow to 18 agencies. Kids In Crisis — Intervention Team, or KIC-IT, which advocates for local homeless youth, will be added as a new agency in 2017.
The United Way also runs seven programs, including Christmas Angels and Operation Bundle Up, which provide Christmas gifts and winter coats to families in need. United Way also runs the Fast Track program, which donates school supplies to children from families whose incomes are low enough to qualify for the free- and reduced-price lunch program.
In the coming year, United Way will focus on its “No Place to Call Home” initiative to address the needs of the homeless in the area.
United Way is working on the second phase of the program, said Paul Gabriel, co-chairman of the initiative’s steering committee. During the first phase, the issue of homelessness in Johnson County was studied. For the 2013-14 school year, there were more than 650 homeless children in the county, which is nearly 220 homeless families.
Between the Social Service agencies, faith-based community and government entities, about $200,000 was going spent on emergency housing or rental an mortgage assistance each year, he said.
To gain new donors for this campaign, the United Way aimed its efforts at the manufacturing and health care industries, as well as the government sector.
“As the economy gets better, we have to focus on the manufacturing (areas). We’re really trying to get better information out to the governmental areas like the City of Greenwood, the City of Franklin and Johnson County government,” said United Way Executive Director Nancy Lohr Plake.
“We have lots of health care developing in this area — especially around Emerson Avenue and County Line — so that was one area we wanted to focus on.”
Here’s a look at how much has been raised by United Way during the past five years:
United Way of Johnson County handed out several awards at their annual celebration. Here is a look at some of the winners:
Award of Excellence
NSK Precision America
Teacher’s Credit Union
Banking Division Award
Education Division Award
Center Grove schools
Best Government/Nonprofit campaign
The Children’s Bureau
Johnson County Sheriff’s Office
Manufacturing Division Award
Outstanding Small Company
Outstanding Corporate Giving