Eagle editorial: Help United Way

09/11/2012 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 10:12 AM

United Way of the Plains has set an aggressive campaign goal of $15.6 million. But it’s already off to an impressive start and has a compelling reason to expect a big finish – the proven generosity of south-central Kansans.

“People respond to need,” Pat Hanrahan, president of United Way of the Plains, told The Eagle editorial board Monday.

That certainly held true during the Pacesetter campaigns over the summer, when 10 companies kicked off the fall campaign by raising $475,000 – a 20 percent increase over what the same companies did for United Way last year.

That giving spirit also prevailed in the 2011 campaign, when United Way raised $15.2 million to surpass its goal by more than $120,000.

Amid the rough economy, United Way is seeing more and more “shoots of green here and there,” Hanrahan said.

The signs of improvement are well-timed, given that many of the agencies supported by United Way have sustained cuts in the public funding they receive from federal, state and county governments.

That means they could use more help from United Way of the Plains, which funds 87 programs at 35 agencies. United Way focuses on what it terms “the building blocks of a better life for all,” including helping children achieve their potential, promoting financial stability and improving health. This is the organization’s 90th anniversary in Wichita – a remarkable milestone for what has been a vital community partnership.

But “we’re not able to do as much as we did 10 years ago. We’ve got to turn that around,” Hanrahan said.

Between now and the end of the campaign on Nov. 16, the community can help turn that around by making donations through payroll deduction at participating employers, online at www.unitedwayplains.org, or by mail to United Way of the Plains, 245 N. Water, Wichita, KS 67202.

Though the local United Way rates high nationally in employee giving per capita, about 60 percent of the local workforce hasn’t given to United Way.

Hanrahan noted that the chief reason people offer when asked why they don’t give to charity generally is “nobody asked me.”

South-central Kansans: Consider yourselves asked, and please help United Way of the Plains succeed in its 2012 campaign.

For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman

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