(Leonna Heuring ~ Standard-Democrat)
"We're elated with that, and it speaks well for the community of Sikeston as well as all of the agencies we represent," said Greg Colwick, 2009 campaign chair.
The goal was $80,000 and $88,090 was raised for 14 agencies in Southeast Missouri, Colwick announced during a luncheon Wednesday in Sikeston. The campaign kicked off in September and wrapped up last month.
Colwick said despite the economy, he wasn't surprised by the area's generosity.
"What surprised me was the 10 percent we made over our goal. We're just elated by that," Colwick said.
Last year's campaign exceeded the goal by 17 percent, which meant $94,000 was pledged or donated. During the 2007-2008 campaign, $91,400, or 114 percent of the goal, was raised.
"Because we went over our goal last year, we didn't feel like we needed to raise the goal at all this year," said Glenna Shy, executive director of the local organization.
And this year's campaign ran smoothly, Shy said.
"I wasn't worried at all one time this year," she said.
Both Colwick and Shy commended individuals and groups working for the United Way during the fundraiser as well as those who supported the organization through donations.
"It's a tough year with the economy, but by stepping up to the plate, we can thank all the areas and businesses in Sikeston who've made it possible to reach our goal," Colwick said, adding United Way workers were encouraged to solicit donations early on in the campaign which could've also led to this year's success.
The majority of campaign funds came from payroll deductions, Shy said. Larger area businesses like Ameren, city of Sikeston, AT&T, UPS, JC Penney, Noranda, Wal-Mart, state offices and many others provide options to their employees to contribute to the campaign through payroll deductions.
"And the small businesses are also some of our best contributors to the campaign," Shy said.
The campaign reaches out to other communities besides Sikeston, Shy said. For example, Kroger store in Poplar Bluff conducted a special event to raise money for the local organization.
Advance mailings to individuals also make up a portion of funds raised, Shy said.
There were some individuals and businesses who gave in previous years who weren't able to donate this year, but there were also new contributors, Shy said.
"So it worked both ways," Shy said.
Also United Way board members sold chances to win a handmade quilt which was raffled last month.
The Sikeston/Bootheel Area United Way encompasses Scott, Stoddard, New Madrid, Mississippi, Pemiscot and Butler counties. It serves Bootheel Counseling Services; Boy Scouts of America; Delta Area Blind Association; Foster Grandparents Program; Girl Scouts House of Refuge; Kenny Rogers Children's Center; Nutrition Centers in East Prairie, New Madrid, Portageville; Sikeston Scott County Transit; Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence; and YMCA.
"We've had a great year, and everybody's worked hard. We've been very successful," Shy said.
Sarah Buchanan, co-chaired this year's campaign alongside Colwick, who will resume his role as the chair for the 2010 campaign. Assisting Colwick as co-chair will be Chester Cardwell.
"Sikeston is just a wonderful place," Shy said. "You can go anywhere you want to go, and when come home, Sikeston always looks good to you."