The 2013 Seward County United Way Campaign hit a new record in fundraising it was announced at the Annual Meeting and Celebration on Jan 30. According to Deb Pridie, 2013 Campaign Chair, the local United Way currently has donations and pledges totaling $385,604.88 which means it was more than $55,000 over its 2013 goal of $330,000.
“We are thrilled that we did so well this year,” said Pridie, “because the forecast for state and federal funding for our agencies is not good for this year. One of the best things about United Ways and having some additional funding is that we have the flexibility to take care of our community by funding agencies where and when our community needs it. Thanks to your great support, we’ve got the capacity to ride it out to better times.”
“We have had a very successful campaign this year thanks to some hardworking volunteers. The bulk of the work is really done by our campaign coordinators at the individual businesses and organizations. They are the unsung heroes that truly make a campaign successful,” said Kay Burtzloff, executive director of the Seward County United Way.
National Beef also reached a new high level of giving with pledges of $223,723.24 which is an increase of more than $5,000 from the previous year. “The employees of National Beef have just given more than 58 percent of our total campaign,” Pridie said. “In the past seven years, National Beef has increased its giving by $86,000 – that’s true economic stimulus.”
R. Wayne Titus, who headed up ExxonMobil’s Golf Tournament for the United Way for the 2013 Campaign, was named “Volunteer of the Year.” ExxonMobil has sponsored a golf tournament for eight years for the local United Way, and this year’s proceeds of $16,360 was a new high for the tournament. “We’re already planning next year’s tournament,” Titus promised.
Five individuals were honored as “Star” Volunteers for their work with payroll deduction campaigns: Charlotte Hill with Seward County, Nancy Anderson with JC Penney, Bonnie Raff for the USD 480 campaign, and Yesenia Salazar and Anahi Valenzuela with National Beef.
Retiring board members honored for their years of service included Susan Lukwago, Kevin Colvin and Lupe Lopez. Plaques were also given to High Plains Pizza Hut, Ruffino’s Restaurant, Spencer Browne’s Coffee House, Rafter J Liquor, McDonald’s and Vargas Restaurant for their participation through the years in the United Way’s Eat Out Campaign and the fall wine tasting event. Epic PCS was recognized for being the Goofy Golf Tournament sponsor.
Businesses and non-profits that were honored for 100 percent participation by their employees include First National Bank, Sunflower Bank, Southern Office Supply, Hay Rice and Associates, Byron Bird and Associates, and the Stepping Stone Shelter. “According to my records, this is the 22nd straight year that First National Bank has had a 100 percent participation. They also set a record as the highest per capita donor of any of my campaigns,” Burtzloff said.
More than 25 businesses were recognized during the ceremony with plaques and special recognition. “The year may have started off slow, but it ended great. I never would have guessed that we were going to go this far over goal,” Bird said.
“Every year, the Seward County United Way board has raised my goal and I’ve always had to have faith that our community will come through for me,” said Burtzloff. “So far, they have never let me down.”
During the annual meeting, Deb Pridie, Yesenia Salazar, and Ryan Valencia were added as new board members and Jack Cooley, Pam McElvain and Kyle Hammel were elected for a second term. The other formal business at the annual meeting was the election of officers with Alicia Bird as president, Pam McElvain as vice president, Jody Holt as treasurer and Michele Gillispie as secretary.