By Colin Foster
The mission of the United Way is to better the lives of people living in their communities.
It’s takes a lot of help from various community outlets to ensure that happens — and the local United Way received a lot of support this year.
It was a day of thanks on Friday, as the United Way of Troy recognized individuals, organizations, businesses, financial institutions and groups which helped the organization surpass its annual campaign goal this year.
The United Way of Troy closed its campaign drive with a celebration and luncheon at the brand new Hobart Community Kitchen, 25 N. Mulberry St., in downtown Troy. The celebration kicked off at noon with lunch, followed by comments from the co-chairmen, president of the board and United Way of Troy executive director Richard Bender.
“It’s just a celebration for people who are either with our agencies, our board members, people in the community, our donors that are supporting us, businesses here that help us,” Bender said.
Greg Taylor and Rob Davis, the 2013 campaign co-chairmen, announced to volunteers, elected officials, agency representatives and Leadership Givers at the event that the campaign exceeded its $808,000 goal by collecting a total of $810,208.
“The closing ceremony is a great opportunity to thank all the donors who have made this possible throughout this campaign,” Taylor said. “Troy is a blessed community that we have so many people who want to help those less fortunate. That’s why we’re so successful year-after-year, because of the community involvement and the donors in our community.”
Taylor also thanked the agency directors and volunteers who worked diligently to help United Way reach its 2013 goal. He also welcomed the two new United Way partner agencies, SafeHaven and the Miami County YMCA.
“We’ve been funding them for the last three years, so we decided we like their mission and we like what they’re doing, so we now include them as our partners,” Bender said.
Taylor also spoke of the United Way’s new program to connect volunteers with the needs of the agencies — “Get Connected.” The United Way of Troy, Piqua, and Tipp City collaborated to make the website possible. It can be found at www.volunterrmiamicounty.org.
“It’s a website where all the non-profits can register, and list their needs, whether that’s in-kind needs, monetary needs, and then they can promote when they’re having events,” Bender said.
Davis gave thanks to the outstanding support of the United Way campaign by area businesses, industries, professionals, financial institutions, civic/service clubs and individuals that helped make the 2013 campaign possible. He also acknowledged Richard Culp for chairing the Leadership Giving Group and recognized the Leadership Givers in attendance. He added that the monies raised will help thousands of people in Troy and Miami County this coming year.
“I think this event is just a culmination of the total community,” Davis said. “From being here at the new soup kitchen with Hobart, the great businesses that are instrumental to our town, to the volunteers that we have, to the great givers … this is every facet of what it takes to be a great community — we have that here in Troy.”
President of the board, Bill Barney, gave thanks to the outgoing board members, Ruth Jenkins and Cindy Meeker, who he called “valuable assets” to the United Way mission.
“Both have used their time, talents and treasures to make our organization better,” said Bender of Jenkins and Meeker, who are both completing their second terms. “It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with both Ruth and Cindy.”
Barney also discussed the new partnership with the Troy-Miami County Library and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
“We got the numbers today of the people who have signed up (for Imagination Library) — it’s incredible,” Bender said.
Bender said the contributions to the United Way campaign will continue to be received and the final amount raised will be announced later in the year.
Last year, the United Way assisted in providing impact grants to the Lincoln Community Center, Miami County Recovery Council, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Kids Read Now, Family Abuse Shelter, Council on Rural Services, Miami County Dental Clinic, St. Josephs Cold Shelter, St. Pats Soup Kitchen, SafeHaven, Troy Community Works, Troy-Miami County Library, Troy Rec and Miami County YMCA.
The United Way of Troy provides financial assistance to 27 health and human service agencies which benefit from the annual campaign.
To find out more about the United Way of Troy, visit www.unitedwayoftroy.org
Colin Foster may be reached at 937-440-5208 or followed on Twitter @colinfosterbg or @Troydailynews