United Way officially kicks off 2013 fundraising campaign

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Shelly Birkelo
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BELOIT—United Way Blackhawk Region made history Wednesday when it kicked off its 2013 fundraising campaign.

Last year, the United Way of North Rock County and Stateline United Way merged into one new organization, but this will be the new unit's first fundraising campaign combining all of Rock County and a piece of northern Illinois.

"This is groundbreaking. The traditions are all being formed this year and going forward. Everything we do is setting the precedent," said Steve Kinkade, president.

“It could take four to five years to bring us together. It's continuous, and the things we are doing are precedent setting,” said Tom Spilde, campaign chairman.

This includes the first combined CEO breakfast and first combined party for Leadership Circle Givers.

“It's not the last step of bringing the previous two United Ways together, it's the first of many,” he said.

Spilde announced the 2013 fundraising campaign goal of $2.8 million during Wednesday's campaign kickoff/Day of Caring event at the Eclipse Center, 3 Eclipse Boulevard.

That is a 3 percent increase over the more than $2.74 million in pledges that pushed the campaign to 98 percent of its $2.8 million goal in 2012, he said.

United Way campaign cabinet members developed the goal they recommended to the executive committee before presenting it to the board for final ratification and adoption.

Spilde is confident the campaign will be successful.

"Most people understand what this is and why we have to step up to the plate and produce dollars," he said.

Kinkade agreed: "We're very optimistic and confident the goal is achievable and what's necessary. We hopefully want to beat that number."

Jump starting the 2013 campaign were more than 30 businesses and organizations in the region--Rock County and northern Winnebago County in Illinois—who conducted Pacesetter Campaigns before Wednesday's kickoff.

To date, they have raised just over $330,600, which represents 11.8 percent of the 2013 campaign goal, Spilde said.

When decisions are made in October and November to allocate dollars to United Way partner agencies, money in 2014 "will go to where needs are the greatest," Kinkade said.

A volunteer group of 50 people representing all corners of the Blackhawk region will determine how the money is distributed, he said.

"The data will drive the decision making," Kinkade said.

This includes facts from agency applications, site visits, meetings between the agencies and the volunteer group, a review of the agencies budgets and requests and an independent financial verification of the budgets.

Kinkade and Spilde made it clear money raised will not be split equally between the two former United Ways territories.

It's "accountability to dollars spent and going where its most needed," Spilde said.

Kinkade said the 2013 campaign is about the Blackhawk Region coming together to raise resources to provide essential and needed services for residents it serves.

"Out of a population of more than 200,000 residents, over 112,000 individuals were served in 2012 by the United Way partner agencies. Very few go through life without having some contact with some United Way program," he said.

More than 400 volunteers from 20 local businesses and organizations participated Wednesday in Day of Caring, led by Beth Gliebe, volunteer project manager.

They worked at projects for 27 nonprofit organizations in the region that ranged from painting to cleaning carpets to yard work to fence building to helping at a wheelchair square dance, she said.

Wednesday's celebration included a showing of United Way's locally produced campaign video, "Join the Dance" that featured this theme: "Together and through United Way, we can make a lasting difference in our community by advancing education, income and health."

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