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Volunteers, Donations in 2015 Big Focus of United Way Recognition Event

United Way of the Ozarks
United Way of the Ozarks

More than 2,100 volunteers help complete 255 service projects throughout the community in 2015. The statistics were among the highlights shared during Wednesday’s annual meeting and recognition event by the United Way of the Ozarks.

“We work with different non-profit organizations to really have projects that without the help of volunteers, they may not have the budget to make those projects happen,” Nigel Holderby, Vice President of Communications, said.

Additional accomplishments include working with the National Association of Letter Carriers to bring in over 218,000 pounds of food through Stamp Out Hunger. Holderby also notes that more than 21,000 books were delivered by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in 2015 to encourage reading for children 5-years and younger. Additionally, workplace pledges totaled $2.8 million.

“We go and talk to their employees and share with them the work of the United Way and how their dollars are working in the community, and then they make a pledge through a workplace gift.”

Several entities were recognized by United Way of the Ozarks, which handed out three different awards at the event, including the Circle of Caring Award, the Leo’s Champions Award and the Pillar Awards.

The Circle of Caring Award was given to 27 organizations that had at least 50 percent employee participation and at least $150 per capita gift.

The Leo’s Champions Award was given to over 100 organizations who had at least a 15 percent increase in workplace contributions to the United Way.

Pillar Awards were set aside for individuals and organizations for showing high benchmarks in creating and maintaining a United Way culture within the group.

“Those winners of these awards really are those entities, those companies that really get it, and they’ve gone above and beyond to make sure that their employees have an opportunity to connect to the community in such a way that through the United Way they’re touching so many lives.”

Wednesday’s event also featured KY3’s Brian McDonough, United Way 2016 board chair, taking about other ways to help families create sustainable futures and make the community stronger in the coming year.

According to its website, nearly 25,000 men, women and children will benefit from United Way programs funded in 2015.