MUW Seven Counties campaign raises $26.3 million

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By Kelly Neumeyer

Shelby County residents in need will soon see some positive opportunities to live healthier lives, obtain quality childcare, have high-quality after-school activities for youth and seize education opportunities that can lead to financial independence.

All this was made possible by the generous contributions of Shelby County residents.

Metro United Way Seven Counties recently wrapped up its annual campaign for Oldham, Bullitt, Spencer and Shelby counties in Kentucky, and Floyd, Clark and Harrison Counties in Southern Indiana.

Historically, the majority of the funds raised come through workforce campaigns.

“We go out and have relationships with companies all over the region and we work with their employees and many of them contribute directly out of their paycheck in a lot of cases,” Chief Brand Officer at Metro United Way John Blair said.

Blair said during a campaign he tries to encourage employers and employees to give by seeing the impact Metro United Way is making in the community.

“We try to encourage them to give a little more or at least maintain what they gave last year, and we give them as much information as possible about their giving from the previous year,” Blair said.

The total contributions for all counties landed at $26.3 million. Of that amount, $20.6 million will go directly back to the communities, Blair said. Money raised in each particular county will remain in the county it was collected.

“A great thing about how we work is the money that’s raised in the counties stays in the counties,” Blair said. “Money raised in Shelby County will stay right there in that community to help meet community needs there.”

Blair said there are about 109 agencies across the seven counties meeting needs and they request funding from Metro United Way.

A volunteer board reviews those funding requests, which are typically for housing, food and clothing but can include other areas as well.

“As the funds are available, we will try to meet as many requests or portions of requests as possible,” Blair said.

Blair said that even though this year’s campaign was relatively strong, there has been a 10-year downward trend in contributions. Some of it is due to the changing workplace, because large employers are downsizing, some areas people work in shared spaces or even at home.

“In terms of workplace campaigns, there are all kinds of dynamics around the changing workplace in the past 25 years,” Blair said.

“We’ve seen this downward trend, then in 2017 we saw a big spike and a lot of it we attributed to our 100th anniversary and what we were shooting for was $1 billion in funding raised over the last 100 years and we got to that number. In 2017, we clipped up a little bit to $27 million, which reversed a downward trend.”

Blair said coming into this year their goals were to match their 100th anniversary, which was one of the highest campaigns the organization has ever had.

“We thought that would be wonderful. We got pretty close by getting to $26.3 million,” Blair said. “So for two years in a row this has reversed that downward trend and we are hopeful we have reversed that trend and that things are looking up and all the counties did really well.”