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Published on: October 5, 2017 | by uwdecatur
Story via Herald & Review:
DECATUR — The United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois hopes to raise $1.6 million during its 2017 campaign to support various community programs, officials announced at a kickoff event Friday.
The amount is the same as last year's goal, which the organization met. Proceeds from the campaign support a spectrum of social service agencies, with the end goal to help people provide for themselves and their families.
“Our mission really is we want to create self-sufficiency in our community,” said United Way Executive Director Debbie Bogle.
The kickoff event was held at Jackson Ford in Decatur, which donated $20 for every person who test drove a vehicle Friday. While the United Way campaign will conclude around December, most of the fundraising occurs in October.
The United Way provides funding for 21 organizations in Macon County, 11 in DeWitt County and nine in Moultrie County. The organization moved into a new building at 201 W. Eldorado St. in January, a move funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
After a three-year study of the community to identify funding priorities, Bogle said United Way identified five key areas to focus its resources: youth education, adult education and training, health, safety and spreading information about social services, both to those who could benefit and those who could provide investments.
The main goal is to move people in the community from a crisis state to a place where they can thrive.
“Our desire is that everyone has the ability for themselves and their families to live without subsidized assistance,” she said.
The United Way operates a 211 telephone information and referral service for Macon, DeWitt and Moultrie counties, also funded by Buffett. The service is toll-free telephone number that gives people access 24 hours a day to a trained volunteer who refers callers to resources, drawing on a database of thousands of health and human services.
Common issues include problems with paying rent or utility bills, substance abuse, family counseling and child care.
Bogle encourages businesses of all sizes to join in the fundraising campaign. She said even one or two dollars per paycheck can greatly impact the community through programs.
“People are always surprised to learn how little it takes to make an impact on someone’s life,” said Brian Byers, president of the organization's board of directors and vice-president of development at Neuhoff Media.
Bogle encouraged anyone with interest in seeing the importance of their donation to attend an "impact tour," a two-hour tour showcasing the services and agencies funded by United Way.
“We just want to show people when they invest in our community, what those impacts are,” Bogle said.
There are still spots open on an impact tour scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5. Call (217) 422-8537 to reserve a spot.
“If we could take everybody in this community on an impact tour, I would,” Byers said. “If you see what is happening on the ground level, it opens your eyes.”