United Way at 33 percent of campaign funding goal





Finney County United Way's fundraising campaign is about 3 percent ahead of last year at this point in the campaign despite a tougher fundraising climate overall, according to Consuelo Sandoval, executive director.

As of Friday afternoon, $180,119 had been raised, which represents about 32.75 percent of this year's $550,000 goal. The campaign officially ends in December, but usually the organization doesn't make its goal until March of the following year.

"It's quite a challenge, but we're still out there beating the bushes. We're very optimistic and we're very happy with the donations we've received so far," Sandoval said.

Sandoval said the closing of BPI earlier this year, which left 234 families out of work, has had an impact. BPI typically pledged about $11,000 in past years but could donate just $2,000 this year.

"We've made up some but it's a hard campaign year," she said.

While the overall national economy has been struggling for a few years, Sandoval said, Garden City has seen some economic issues but probably not as bad as other places. She thinks BPI's closing had a huge mental impact on people.

"Our community really knows when to step in when there's a need. There were huge cuts to some of our agencies from the county and the state so they're really depending heavily for some support from United Way," she said.

Sandoval said some of the biggest corporate donors have included Tyson, which contributes $217,000 and also does a corporate match; the city of Garden City, which contributed $26,000 this year, and all of the banks in town have done well. She said the heart of the campaign is employee pledges through the workplace.

The United Way's next fundraising push will turn more toward small businesses in the community over the next several weeks. And anyone can walk into the United Way offices at 1511 E. Fulton Terrace to donate.

"That's a huge help. We would love to hear from anyone, and they can designate their money to go to any one of our 21 agencies," Sandoval said. "We can never thank our donors enough. Any donation is appreciated. I know when we put out numbers people will think 'Oh, my $10 doesn't make a difference.' It truly, truly does. It really adds up."

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