Requests for help numerous for local United Way
Nancy Bauder was surprised with some of the phone calls she received after she started in February as executive director of the United Way of Leavenworth County.
“I got a lot of calls from people who had never been laid off — people who were unable to pay their mortgages or rent,” she said. “It’s quite traumatic.”
Given the state of the economy, it wasn’t so much the content of the calls that surprised Bauder, but that they were placed to the United Way, which is a fundraising organization for a host of agencies and non-profits in the county. All she could do was refer them elsewhere, she said.
The calls demonstrated the growing need for the services provided by the 20 agencies the United Way of Leavenworth County supports, Bauder said. It’s now her job to help them with the funds they need to provide services as she heads her first United Way campaign.
The theme of this year’s campaign is Caring, Learning and Empowering, and calls attention to how United Way agencies help people, Bauder said.
For example, Boy and Girl scouts and early childhood programs educate, Bauder said. Court Appointed Special Advocates, St. Vincent Clinic and the Alliance Against Family Violence fit under the care umbrella and by doing so empower those they help, she said.
“Our agencies focus on impacting the community throughout the county,” she said, noting the presence of Scouts throughout the county, the Alliance Against Family Violence shelter in Tonganoxie and St. Vincent’s service to all the county’s uninsured.
The campaign’s goal this year is $375,000, the same as it was in 2010, Bauder said.
“We didn’t make the goal last year,” she said. “We made $350,000. That’s still a lot of money.
“We might not make it this year, but we’re going to try. The agencies need more than ever, anything we can do for all them to help take care of the increase in clients they have.”
Although new to the United Way, Bauder is familiar with non-profits and fundraising. She is the one-time manager of St. Vincent Clinic in Leavenworth and has a long background in health care.
But for support in her first year, the 2010 United Way drive chairman, Blake Waters of First State Bank and Trust in Tonganoxie, agreed stay on for another year.
Waters said he was optimistic the campaign would reach its goal this year. He noted the pre-campaign auction started things on the right track by exceeding last year’s total, and there was a good crowd at the Sept. 10 kickoff event at Hallmark Cards in Leavenworth.
Also fueling his optimism is Bauder’s presence, Waters said.
“Her energy and enthusiasm are major assets,” he said. “She knows a lot of people in the county. Having her in on board is a plus. I feel confident we’ll meet or exceed our goal.”
One of the ideas Bauder brought to the campaign that has Waters excited was for the new “Dining Out” evenings. In it, five county restaurants — Elle’s Dinner of Tonganoxie, Kelley's Grille and Bar in Basehor, IHOP in Lansing, and TenPenny Restaurant and June’s Cottage in Leavenworth — will donate 5 percent of their sales for a designated evening each week to the campaign.
Bauder said representatives were available to speak to companies or organizations wishing to participate in the drive. Those wishing to schedule a speaker or to make a contribution should call her at (913) 682-2592 or email the United Way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on this year’s drive may be found at www.unitedwaylvco.org.