Scaling back from their 2009 goal of $16.4 million, United Way of the Plains leaders on Thursday announced a $15 million goal for this year's fundraising campaign.
The announcement came during the Campaign Kickoff Breakfast at Century II Convention Hall. About 700 United Way supporters attended.
Campaign chairman Paul Allen, CEO of Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, said the community had seen some tough times.
"It is no secret that people are hurting in this community," Allen told the audience. "It is a tough economy."
But the need to help still exists, he said.
"Children have to be mentored or tutored. We still have elderly who need transportation to their doctor's appointments or a warm meal brought to their home, abused women who seek shelter and a fresh start," Allen said.
"I think we all agree the needs are as great as ever, perhaps greater, but the ability to help resides right here in this room. ... This is the front lines of the campaign."
The money raised benefits more than 90 programs at 37 area nonprofit organizations.
United Way president Patrick Hanrahan said the theme of this year's campaign is "It's not business, it's personal."
To help kick off the campaign, Wichita Eagle president and publisher William C. "Skip" Hidlay talked briefly about the "Taking It to the Streets" campaign The Eagle is helping sponsor.
From 7 to 9 a.m. Tuesday, volunteers will sell newspapers at 11 intersections around Wichita. The special-edition papers are wrapped in coupons and include prizes such as gift cards to restaurants and a jewelry store and certificates for savings bonds.
The goal, Hidlay said, is to sell more than 10,000 papers, with the proceeds donated to the United Way.
"We really sincerely hope you will help us spread the word to your family, your friends and co-workers so we can sell all 10,000 of these papers from 7 to 9 a.m. and get the 2010 United Way campaign off to a great start," he said.
The United Way's campaign will run through Nov. 19.