A local social services agency is hoping to raise a record amount of money to fund the nonprofit organizations that connect children with counseling, mentoring or after-school programs, provide public transportation to nearly 9,000 people annually and aid families displaced by fires or storm damage.

The United Way of Johnson County hopes to raise $1.56 million this year.

The agency announced its annual campaign goal to hundreds of people at the carnival-themed kick-off breakfast on Tuesday. During the coming months, campaign volunteers will ask area employers to encourage their employees to give to the United Way, through one-time donations or deductions from their paychecks.

The United Way of Johnson County funds 18 local nonprofit agencies, such as Johnson County Senior Services and Youth Connections. The agency also operates eight programs, including Christmas Angels and a program that is meant to combat homelessness, No Place to Call Home. The agencies and programs helped 37,000 people in Johnson County last year.

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A video showed the help United Way agencies give to struggling people all across the county. A young woman talked about how being involved in Girl Scouts of America helped her belong and overcome issues she faced as a teen. A young father talked about how child care vouchers given to him by Children’s Bureau allow him to work and afford childcare for his 3-year-old daughter. A widow talked about how volunteering at The Social of Greenwood helped her cope with her husband’s death and how other retired people get some basic services from the senior citizen’s center.

Most people helped in Johnson County live in Franklin. United Way agencies also help thousands of residents in every community in Johnson County, including Needham, Nineveh and Trafalgar.

The goal this year comes after the agency raised $1.50 million last year, which was a record amount of money, but fell just short of the $1.51 million goal.

Companies that ran early campaigns have already raised $180,537 for this year’s campaign, which is about 4 percent of the overall goal.

Each year, the fundraising goal is set when United Way leaders look at the budgets of the participating agencies and what it costs to run United Way programs, said Nancy Lohr Plake, executive director.

Campaign volunteers are focused on restarting campaigns at companies that previously participated. Workers also are focusing on boosting the donations of campaigns that had declined, Plake said.

New retail in the area, such as new Kroger grocery stores and the Meijer in Franklin are being targeted to run campaigns that can help the agency meet the goal. Overall, agency officials hope to start five new employer campaigns this year, Plake said.

By the numbers

Here is a look at how much money United Way has raised in past years:

2017 goal: $1.56 million

2016;$1.5 million

2015;$1.48 million

2014;$1.45 million

2013;$1.43 million

2012;$1.436 million

2011;$1.377 million

2010;$1.335 million

At a glance

If you want to donate or begin a giving campaign at your employer or organization, contact the United Way of Johnson County.

Address: 594 Ironwood Drive, Franklin

Phone: (317)736-7840

Online: https://www.uwjc.org/

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Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.