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United Way Makes New Firsts

Shelby County United Way leaders announced the 2023 campaign, titled “Because of You,” raised $1,392,453 with additional donations expected in the upcoming weeks at the campaign’s finale at the Historic Sidney Theatre on Nov. 9.

According to outgoing President and CEO Scott Barr, the organization has seen increased growth in final numbers for three straight years out of the COVID-19 pandemic. With additional funds coming from the Community Foundation of Shelby County’s Match Day, this year’s totals will exceed $1.4 million for the fourth time in the organization’s 66-year history.

Incoming President and CEO Karla Young provided campaign highlights, mentioning the top supporter, Copeland, and other essential companies that significantly increased campaign totals — NK Parts, Farmer & Merchants, Choice One Engineering and Koenig Equipment.

2023 Campaign Chair Ed Thomas spoke about his time in the campaign chair role.

“One of the true benefits of serving in this capacity is having the wonderful opportunity to meet so many great people, especially those affiliated with our generous corporations and with many of the agencies our campaign helps support,” Thomas said. “It is truly very eye-opening and humbling to see firsthand and to hear of all the ways your gifts are making a real and significant difference. Rest assured, your gifts are doing exactly what they are meant to do as they support the 27 agencies and programs that receive United Way funding.”

“At the beginning of this campaign we said we wanted to aspire to greatness, to think big and to make a significant difference. In a few moments you are going to hear some numbers that will confirm our combined amazing accomplishments. The bottom line is, we are all more than fundraisers. We are the hand raisers, the game changers, and because of you, our community will be a better, stronger and a more positive place for all to live,” Thomas concluded.

Barr announced John and Julia Frantz will be the 2024 campaign chairs — which will be the first time the organization will have a couple hold the seat.

The division reports so far for 2023 were unveiled and are as follows:

• Grants totaled $40,500.

• Cornerstone and Special Gifts, with division co-leaders Jayne Smith and Lenora Randolph, reported $55,696.

• Education, with division co-leaders Amy Simindinger and Tiffany Rank, reported $47,228, which increased about $500 from 2022.

• Not-For-Profits, with division co-leaders Traci Milanese and Emily Neu, raised $24,131.

• Public Employees, with division co-leaders Andrew Bowsher, Jodie Siegel and Bob Guillozet, raised $49, 664, which is $5,830 over last year’s total.

• Retail, with division leader Jackie Davis, reported $41,373, which is a $3,355 increase.

• Service, with division co-leaders Mark Shipman and Chris North, raised $259,883, which is an increase of $23,683 and a record amount raised for the service division.

• Health Care, with division co-leaders Mark Klosterman and Jennifer Huelskamp, reported $56,035, a $5,045 increase from 2022.

• Professional, with division leader Ashley Himes, reported $127,235, a $14,383 increase.

• Small Manufacturing, with division leader Jason Wagner, raised $42,441, increasing by $3,057.

• Large Manufacturing, with division co-leaders Mickey Hamer and John and Julia Frantz, raised $648,367, increasing by $296,329.

Lisa Benanzer was recognized as an outgoing board member. She served on the special projects committee and had roles as treasurer for the executive and finance committees.

Each United Way leader remarked on Barr leaving the organization and the legacy he will leave, with past Board Chair Chad Hollinger saying, “Over the past 11 years, Scott has poured himself into this organization. Under his leadership, the Shelby County United Way has raised nearly $15 million to help the people of our community, every day, every hour, every minute. This mantra that Scott has so boldly declared on multiple occasions also speaks to his dedication to the people of our community and his commitment to serving them. No matter the minute, the hour, or the day, Scott could be reached to discuss matters impacting the community. His constant devotion to the mission of the Shelby County United Way has been evidenced in many ways.”

Barr concluded the program by thanking everyone he has worked closely with the past 11 years and the groups inside the organization.

“It truly has been an honor and a privilege leading this organization the past 11 years. I am proud of what we have accomplished. Behind any good leader are great people, and I have been blessed to work with many great people that have supported me and this organization,” Barr said.