United Way of Logan County officials reported this week that the organization’s 2020 campaign achieved a “million dollar miracle” to conclude the year and exceed its fundraising goal, with a late surge in December from local workplaces and individuals, and an anonymous donor from Rushsylvania who helped to push the total over $1 million on Dec. 30.
Thursday, United Way reported that a final total of $1,014,503 has been pledged to support its fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Logan County. Volunteers and staff gathered that afternoon in front of the United Way thermometer at the corner of Main Street and Sandusky Avenue to celebrate the accomplishment that uplifts the community after the difficult year of 2020.
“This is as good of a ‘feel-good’ story as you could write to put a bow on 2020 and unwrap the New Year,” Dave Bezusko, United Way Executive Director said. “Logan County remains the smallest community in Ohio to ever achieve a $1 million United Way campaign.
“It’s now happened three years in a row. And it’s happened despite the many challenges that 2020 leveled against the community and the way we typically go about fundraising.”
Bezusko noted that the typical in-person events and campaign activities to inform the public about the United Way had to be sidelined or altered because of COVID-19. However, with alternative fundraising and generous individuals taking the need seriously, the non-protit organization received a record 131 gifts of $1,000 or more this campaign, including more than 40 during the month of December to help push the campaign over the top.
“The need sold itself this year,” the executive director said. “We had $70,000 donated to us through direct mailing. We’ve never been close to that number before. Last year, we had $52,000 submitted through direct mailing.
“Individuals and corporations who had the ability to give in 2020 did so and they dug deep to help out our community.”
Bezusko said the gift that sent the campaign over its $1 million mark from the Rushsylvania resident was through an $1,800 online gift on United Way of Logan County’s website last week.
The milestone-making gift was symbolic of many generous individual and corporate donations that poured in during the last four weeks of the year. As of Thanksgiving, United Way officials weren’t sure that the $1 million fundraising goal would be met, and were projecting a final outcome around $925,000.
Katie Rychener, who co-chaired the 2020 campaign alongside her husband, Darrin Haubert, said she was proud of her community that was able to turn around the campaign so quickly when they saw the need.
“We are so grateful for each of the 3,030 residents and 141 businesses that stepped up in this unprecedented year to give so generously,” she said. “Every dollar counted and it came down to the second to last day of 2020 for us to cross the threshold.
“As transplants to this amazing community 15 years ago, we take great pride as residents in knowing and having it reaffirmed that we take care of our own. We truly picked the most incredible community in Ohio for our family to call home. Thank you, Logan County. We appreciate you.”
Though COVID restrictions will prevent United Way from conducting its annual gathering of corporate and agency partners to celebrate philanthropic achievement this year, plans are in the works to finalize corporate and volunteer recognition
Bezusko said additional announcements, including the awarding of the coveted corporate Traveling Trophies, will come later this month.
Though the campaign goal was achieved for the seventh straight year, 2020 marks the first time in 10 years that the amount raised was less than the previous year. 2020 donations were off by four percent from last year’s all-time record of $1,059,313.
Donation totals from the last decade include: 2011: $622,411; 2012: $663,401; 2013: $677,860; 2014: $700,689; 2015: $725,268; 2016: $830,199; 2017: $951,806; 2018: $1,038,555.
Money raised by United Way will support 51 programs of 32 Logan County human service agencies in 2021. A complete line-by-line directory of United Way funded programs is available online at www.uwlogan.org/united-way-funded-agencies.
The United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of everyone in Logan County. It does so by facilitating successful agency partnerships that enable a safe, healthy, and caring community. More than just a fundraiser, the United Way collaborates with businesses, non-profits, government, and civic organizations to help meet the social service needs of the community.
For more information, visit www.uwlogan.org or call (937) 592-2886.