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United Way of Central Kentucky has reached another landmark as it races toward an all-time campaign high.
Executive Director Christopher Wilborn said the agency has surpassed last year’s campaign goal of $1,025,000 and is still calculating money as it pours in.
United Way will announce its final totals Feb. 28, Wilborn said.
Asked for the latest tally Friday, Wilborn said he could not provide a definitive figure because all contributions had not been tally.
Last year’s campaign closed at roughly $1,036,000 and Wilborn is confident the agency can “blow past” $1.1 million, which is the amount of need identified by member agencies from the service region of Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue and Meade counties.
United Way of Central Kentucky set $1.1 million as its campaign goal two years ago but fell short in a tough economy. Wilborn said he is a believer that one should supplant previous goals to scale greater heights.
The success comes in a unique transitional year for United Way, which eschewed a set financial goal to challenge more donors to give. In doing so, Wilborn implored active supporters to increase donations. The agency is celebrating “a decade of difference” through its 10th anniver-sary, Wilborn said.
Part of the success falls on the shoulders of new supporters who launched workforce campaigns, he said. Outside of a financial parameter, the organization rallied around the concept of attracting a minimum of 10 new businesses as supporters to represent each year of its existence. Wilborn said nine businesses already have stepped forward.
“Having new supporters makes all the difference in the world,” Wilborn said.
Wilborn said it is the first time in the organization’s history that back-to-back $1 million campaigns have been organized.
Outside of new supporters and record-breaking workforce campaigns, the agency’s leadership program has proven an invaluable asset, Wilborn said.
Darin Williams, leadership chairman, said the agency had less than 300 leadership givers last year, but set a goal to surpass 500 before campaign’s end. Williams said the agency has well exceeded 300 now and would like to crack 400 leadership givers by the end of February.
“If we don’t reach 500 leadership givers this year, hopefully we’ll hit it next year,” Williams said.
Those who give between $500 and $999 are considered emerging leaders while leadership givers are those who give $1,000 or more. The program denotes those who give $2,500 or more as benefactor givers while those who pledge $5,000 or more are champion givers, Williams said. The highest rank in the program, visionary, is set aside for those who give $10,000 or more.
Williams said the program has two visionary givers and more than 10 benefactor giv-ers.
“We have a lot of good people in this community,” he said.
And Williams believes many more would love to become leadership givers but have never been asked, which is why United Way has set up leadership luncheons to attract new members.
On top of the new supporters, Williams said the majority of existing leadership givers are moving to new levels of giving this year. For example, many $1,000 givers have upped their contributions to $2,500.
Williams said the leadership program makes up around 26 percent of all campaign giving but he would like to advance that number well above 30 percent this year.
Money raised during the campaign will be distributed to agencies throughout United Way of Central Kentucky’s five-county service area that demonstrate a desire to tackle one or more of its three areas of interest — education, income and health.
United Way’s Community Investment team spends hours reviewing each application thoroughly. The agency helps several organizations in Hardin County, including the American Red Cross, the Community Health Clinic of Hardin & LaRue Counties, Helping Hand of Hope and SpringHaven domestic violence center.
Log on to www.unitedwayck.org or send a check to United Way of Central Kentucky, 1111 N. Dixie Ave., Suite 9B, Elizabethtown, KY 42701. For information, contact United Way at (270) 737-6608.