By SALINA POST
The Salina Area United Way's 2021 Campaign Kick-off is Tuesday and you're invited!
The event will be a come and go parking lot party from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Salina Area United Way office, 113 N. Seventh Street, Suite 201. You also will be able to stream the event via the Salina Area United Way Facebook page and on the organization's YouTube channel.
The kick-off will have virtual and in-person interviews with community partners, board members, special guests, and more. A food truck, 3B’s BBQ, will be at event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to win a pair of Josh Turner tickets or one of two pair of Oak Ridge Boys tickets for the performers' Stiefel Theatre shows
The theme for the 2021-2022 annual campaign is “Building Bridges: Strengthen Our Communities” with a goal to raise $550,000. The goal, the same as last year's, will be kept another year after coming up a bit short - $450,000 - for the 2020-2021 campaign.
“Although we did not reach our goal of $550,000 for the 2020-2021 campaign, we are still pleased with the $100,000 increase over the previous year,” said Claire Mullen, executive director for the Salina Area United Way. “We knew it was going to be a tough year with the events of COVID, but between raising $100,000 more than the previous year and $105,000 for our COVID fund, we are truly grateful for the support of the community.”
The Salina Area United Way raises funds to help support community partners. From Funded Partners and then Community Impact Grants to support programs, the United Way has been there for the community. After speaking to many local business leaders, donors, and community partner leaders, the Salina Area United Way determined it was time for the organization to truly be there to support non-profits by taking work off their plates so they can provide services and return to funding agencies not just programs, Mullen noted in a news release.
“This has been a serious conversation over the last year and half since I stepped into the executive director role. We have held meetings at our office with CEOs of our local businesses, spoke with donors, and had meetings with executive directors of our non-profits to determine what the community truly needs from us,” Mullen said. “It is not going completely back to funded partners, agencies will have to apply every year for the funds, but they will be able to apply to fund their agency with the hope they will be able to do less fundraising themselves.”
United Way organizations have the unique opportunity of being allowed into workplaces to receive donations through payroll deductions. They had a niche by funding agencies, and had gotten away from that, but the organization has decided it is time to return to that model of raising funds. By an individual choosing to donate every paycheck, that sum adds up over 26 pay periods creating a larger pool of money to be granted out, Mullen noted.
"We believe in our 785 community and are encouraging people that donate through payroll deduction to consider donating $7.85 each pay period. Would you be willing to not eat out one day, or skip your morning coffee? Join us in the fight to Live United," Mullen explained in the news release.
For persons not donating via payroll deduction, the Salina Area United Way offers the following donation methods.
●Donate to this year’s campaign by mailing your check to:
Salina Area United Way
113 N 7th St., Suite 201
Salina, KS 67401
●Text 2021CAMPAIGN to 41444
A link to the donation page on the Salina Area United Way website can be found at the top of all SalinaPost.com pages.