United Way of Williams County may not have met its fundraising goal for 2021, but new campaign chairs are still optimistic for this year.
Todd Friend, who chaired the 2021 campaign with his wife, Stephanie, provided an update on the campaign at the 2022 annual meeting and luncheon on Tuesday.
“I know 2021 has been a tough year, especially with corporate campaigns, many places need help, fewer people are busier. It’s been a really tough year for these campaigns,” he said. “We absolutely appreciated all of the corporate sponsors who stuck around, who gave a little extra.”
At the start of the campaign, Friend said their remarks when taking over the campaign were “Every little bit helps”.
According to the annual report, the 2021 campaign raised $254,081. Their goal was $360,000.
More than half of that money, $157,442, came from industrial labor. The other two largest giving areas were residential donors, which raised $45,191, and special events, which raised $39,227.
“We greatly appreciate all the donations that have been made,” Friend said. “I believe we did well as a community, as Williams County.”
Even though the community is going through a period where it has become more difficult to give both financially and of one’s time, he said, a core group of people continue to give.
“It makes this county a better place for those of us who are less fortunate and it inspires others, when it’s hard for them, to get up and do it, anyway,” Friend said.
Executive Director Chasity Yoder was absent from the meeting for personal reasons and Allyn Luce, Chair of the United Way Board of Directors, replaced her.
Luce introduced 2022 campaign chairs Jeff and Bobbie Erb.
“As we look forward to the 2022 campaign, we are confident that we have the right leadership involved in the organization to meet the needs of the community and have a lasting impact,” Luce said. “(The Erbs) are very active members of the community and they are Stryker’s first campaign chairs. It’s pretty neat to see it as Williams County.
Jeff Erb has been involved with Centraide for many years, having served six years on the board of directors.
Although he said they were thrilled to be campaign chairs, he also said that 15 years ago he didn’t want to get involved with the United Way at all.
“I remember all my knowledge of United Way 15 years ago was that a guy from United Way International had spent way too much money on private plane travel and there was no way I was giving a penny to United Way,” said Jeff Erb. “(Former Executive Director) Bill Pepple asked me to get involved and I said, ‘Bill, I can’t do this because I don’t think the United Way is a very good organization.’ This launched my training at Centraide.
When he learned more about the organization and what it does in the county, he said it was a great organization that was nothing like his previous impression of the organization.
“I love United Way, I love what you do,” said Jeff Erb. “Thank you very much for what you are doing. I appreciate it. It has a big impact on the county and we are really delighted to be a part of it.
Tuesday’s meeting also served to present the 2021 campaign awards, as well as recognition for volunteer and board member of the year.
The 2021 Volunteer of the Year award went to Daniel Bell and the 2021 Board Volunteer of the Year was Julie Oxender.
Those who received the first place awards for the 2021 campaign were:
• Industrial I: Spangler Candy Company.
• Industry II: Altenloh, Brinck & Company United States
• Industrial III: ITW Tomco.
• Commercial sector: Bryan Ford Lincoln.
• Government/Schools/Libraries sector: Williams County employees.
• Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Legal: Andres, O’Neil and Lowe Insurance Agency.
• Medical sector: Community hospitals and wellness centres.
• Nonprofit Sector/Service Clubs/Churches: Northwestern Electric Cooperative.