United Way of Southeast Missouri falls short of campaign goal

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The United Way of Southeast Missouri again failed to meet its annual fundraising campaign goal, as more and more people are coming to the agencies it supports for help. The organization raised $901,709, about $48,000 less than its $950,000 goal.

"We knew it was going to be a challenging year, but that just meant we had to work harder," campaign co-chairman Stan Penn of US Bank said during a campaign celebration Friday at Cape West 14 Cine. "If we would have had another month of campaign, we would have hit the goal."

He said the campaign started out slow but continued to build momentum toward the end.

"The magic of that momentum is it's going to carry on to next year. Next year, I think we're going to have the biggest, best year we've ever had," Penn said.

This is the third year in a row the organization failed to meet its campaign goal. Last year, it fell short of its $1.01 million goal, raising $935,216. Its 2009-2010 campaign brought in $1,142,858, less than its $1.2 million goal.

What the funding shortfall will mean to individual agencies isn't yet clear, said United Way executive director Nancy Jernigan.

Other figures factor into the organization's dollars available for allocation to its partner agencies, including final contributions from last year's campaign pledges, sponsorships and interest.

"We really won't know until August if the agencies will have to endure another cut or not. We certainly hope not," she said.

There are also a few corporate campaigns that haven't turned in their totals to the United Way.

"We've had to estimate some gifts, so if they come in bigger, that would be great," Jernigan said. "We're trying to do some new and different things with businesses in our community and we're trying to get out and meet one-on-one with people. That's been a challenge," she said.

In November, when campaign pledges started coming in below expectations, the United Way eliminated one member of its four-person staff. John McGowan, who served as director of community impact for the United Way for five years, was let go in an effort to cut administrative costs at the agency.

But the United Way is now considering this year's campaign a success. Twenty-eight companies gave more this campaign than in the last one.

First Missouri State Bank received an award for having the largest increase in employee giving, with a 172 percent increase in its contributions to the United Way this campaign.

Ameren Missouri was recognized for having the highest per-capita giving with $225.13 per-employee. Nordenia USA and The Southeast Missourian tied for the largest increase in Leadership Society membership. Leadership Society donors are those who contribute $500 or more annually.

During the past year, the United Way's funded partners provided services to more than 73,000 people.

The United Way supports 50 programs at 30 different local agencies in the Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Scott City areas.

Representatives from three of these agencies, Major Ben Stilwell of the Salvation Army, Molly Strickland of Lutheran Family and Children Services and Barbara Kohlfield, principal at Blanchard Elementary, spoke about how the United Way's support of programs at their organizations is helping improve the lives of those they work with.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

247 Siemers Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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