United Way of South Central Oklahoma surpassed their 2016 campaign goal of $850,000, raising a total of $937,799 and breaking last year’s record of $916,000.
“It’s phenomenal,” Driver Chair Jeanna Weaver said. “I think more than anything we just want the community to know how big they showed up and how much I appreciate everything they’ve done.”
As the state expects to face yet another year of budget shortfalls, Weaver said this money is more important than ever.
“With the cuts in mental health money across the state and a lot of cuts these nonprofits are gonna take this year, we’re hoping that the extra money, it can kind of cushion the blow,” she said.
Those cuts come from where we need it the most and I think people are seeing that with the state cuts. I think they’re really coming out and taking care of agencies that are taking care of people that really need it.”
No agency can be 100 percent funded by United Way and therefore end up seeking funding from the state and other foundations in order to stay afloat. Weaver said she hopes they can help these agencies, not only financially, but to grow and maybe someday not need United Way and other agencies help fund their programs.
United Way Executive Director tobi daniel Ervin said she believes the theme this year, Every Dollar Matters, was a “real clincher” and having more tours of the agencies give people more insight to how much the nonprofit agencies can impact the community.
“Our agencies, I think people are truly seeing what they do, you know. All the way from helping the homeless to helping after-school kids or helping abused kids, domestic abuse in families. I think we reach it all. All the way to an equine therapy,” Weaver said.
The Every Dollar Matters Theme resonated. Weaver said they told their donors, a dollar could help pay for a child’s lunch or $100 could help pay for a safe night away for someone in an abusive situation.
Most of the money raised are through individuals who choose to have money deducted from their paycheck.
“Those fundraisers help a lot like the BBQ and the poker run. Those help, but the largest amount of money comes from somebody strictly getting a piece of paper and circling how much comes out of their check every month,” she said.
The extra money raised this year will be dispersed out by a percentage to the agencies. There are 31 agencies total in the five-county area served by United Way of South Central Oklahoma. The counties include Carter, Love, Murray, Johnston and Marshall.
“So for this being the only really big city and then it all coming from the outlying areas — that’s huge,” Weaver said. “Our five counties showed up and showed up big.”