Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

February 14, 2014

United Way aids 15 nonprofits

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — METAMORA – “Give – Advocate – Volunteer” is the slogan of United Way of Franklin County. Board members and representatives of nonprofits that received 2013 grants gathered Feb. 10 to celebrate achievements. The organization’s mission is “to review our human service needs, raise and allocate funds, and support programs to secure the community’s future.”

In his president’s message, Jim Lierl wrote, “As it approaches its 25th year of existence, the United Way of Franklin County has much of which to be proud.”

Grantees vary from year to year because “a couple of the agencies either no longer exist or their programs changed,” he explained.

UWFC aided 15 charitable groups in 2013, distributing $50,000: Franklin County 4-H Association, $6,775; Safe Passage, $5,500; Family Connections and Community Mental Health Center’s Directions! Program, $5,000 each; American Red Cross, Franklin County Dollars for Scholars and Imagination Library of Franklin County, $4,000 each; Franklin County Senior Citizens Services and Special Olympics, $3,000 each; Tri-Homecare, $2,475; Boy Scouts Crossroads Council, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana and Salvation Army, $2,000 each; Southeastern Indiana YMCA, $750; and New Horizons Rehabilitation, $500.

“In challenging economic times, such an extensive network of assistance deserves to be recognized, and that is one of the reasons for ... this annual dinner” at the Hearthstone Restaurant, according to the two-year president. “The money United Way gives out is a lifeblood for some agencies.” Grants cannot be the nonprofits’ only sources of funds. Nevertheless, “it’s a big help for some.”

UWFC is on sound financial footing with $323,427 in assets as of Dec. 31, 2013, reported Treasurer Jake Linkel. “Last year’s campaign raised about $90,000 out of the $105,000 goal. We’re well on our way.” First Vice President Karen Hoog said, “Some of the money comes in slowly,” including contributions from county residents who work elsewhere.

The organization’s 2014 goal is $100,000. Lierl told grantees, “The more money we raise, the more we get to help you.”

Pacesetter companies usually kick off the campaign year by making pledges early. Four companies and two nonprofit groups of workers were recognized by Lierl as fundraising pacesetters: Bath State, FCN and MainSource banks; Owens Corning; county school employees; and county government workers. Employees at those spots can opt for automatic payroll deductions.

Even if they work outside of the county, residents can donate by writing United Way of Franklin County, Indiana, on payroll contribution forms.

There are several other ways citizens may give to UWFC. They may choose to donate one-time, tax-deductible contributions or monthly or quarterly pledges, Bulmer said. Checks may be mailed to United Way of Franklin County, P.O. Box 105, Brookville, IN 47012.

UWFC has established a leadership Governors Club, named after the county’s four governors, for those who give at least $250 annually.

Kelly Bulmer became the United Way of Franklin County executive director last November upon Yvonne Brandes’ retirement. According to the president, “It’s been pretty much a smooth transition. We’re really thrilled to have her. She knows all about computers. She was in (Indiana Department of) Child Services. What better preparation for a job like this?”

Of the Volunteer of the Year award, Lierl revealed, “We try to keep this a secret.” The surprise was ruined when public relations chair Kathy O’Bryan, Brookville, who has served in that role for awhile, received a certificate from the state office with her name on it. Bulmer told her, “You definitely spearheaded the Day of Caring.” O’Bryan said, “I was shocked to get this. Everybody on this board pitches in ... everyone comes and does their part.”

In addition to aiding county organizations, members of the nonprofit participate in events. Hoog observed, “We had an eventful year, as always.” Over 250 animal masks were distributed to kids during Memorial Day’s Family Fun Day at the Brookville park. “That event gets bigger and bigger every year” and gets the word out about United Way. Almost $1,000 was raised during a raffle at the Franklin County 4-H Fair, which helped send a county child to Camp Riley. August’s A-Main-Zing Race, which pits teams against each other on Brookville’s Main Street, garnered almost $5,000. She reported, “We didn’t have as many teams as we usually did. We had a lot of businesses participate and everybody had a really good time.”

Over 80 volunteers completed 22 projects during the October Day of Caring. Hoog said, “We helped elderly people in their homes. We raked leaves, cleaned out flower beds, flipped mattresses, moved summer furniture to basements and helped a lot of people get their houses in order for the winter. We were very lucky to have so many volunteers.” The day was coordinated by Bulmer and O’Bryan. UWFC also partnered with Stayin’ Alive and Fayette Regional Health System on a fall health fair. “A lot of people attended that.”

Kids made snowflakes at the United Way table during November Noel. The annual Coats for Kids drive organized by Sara Duffy netted about 100 used coats, which were cleaned and given to disadvantaged children.

Of being one of UWFC’s leaders, Lierl said, “It’s a great way to serve the community. I thank you for the privilege of being on the board and being president.”

In addition to him, four other outgoing board members were applauded for their service: Joann Koch and student members Morgan Blades, Kelly McGill and Meagan Venneman. “I love clubs and community service,” reported Venneman. Being a part of United Way “has really helped me reach out.” Koch pointed out, “It’s a wonderful opportunity” to meet persons throughout the county. “If you’re asked to serve, please do.”

Lierl said in addition to attending monthly board meetings, new members usually are assigned to the allocations committee so they can learn about how the organization operates.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

Getting involved • Hours at the office, located at 527 Main St., Suite 1, Brookville, are Tuesday-Wednesday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Thursday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. • Persons with questions or who would like to volunteer may contact Bulmer at 765-647-2789 or uw.franklinco.in@gmail.com. The Web site address is http://uwfranklinco-in.org/.