uwfh united way

Special to The Gazette

The United Way of the Flint Hills will host its annual campaign celebration on Wednesday, May 12, with both virtual and in-person formats.

To keep participants safe, in-person seating will be very limited and by invitation only. The virtual event will be live-streamed on the United Way YouTube page. The public is encouraged to tune in.

Throughout the 2020-2021 Campaign, campaign co-chairs Kristy and BJ Bayer encouraged support for the United Way and its 23 funded Community Partner agencies.

“We are looking forward to celebrating such a successful campaign and honoring those organizations, businesses, and individuals who support the United Way of the Flint Hills,” Kristy said of the celebration.

Mickey Edwards, United Way CEO, looks forward to recognizing the collaborative efforts that made this year’s campaign successful.

“Going into this campaign year, we knew there would be challenges. This celebration will be a great opportunity for us to recognize everyone who worked hard to ensure we have the ability to continue improving the education, health, and financial stability of our neighbors,” Edwards said.

Annual awards will be presented during the event.

The Community Partner Award is given to an organization that stands out from the rest. Recipients of this award are chosen by the United Way Board of Trustees, UWFH Pacesetters and past drive chairs for their commitment to making an impact in the community in one or more of United Way focus areas of education, income and health.

This year’s recipients are the collaborating agencies of the Greater Emporia Area Disaster Relief Fund (GEADRF) which joined forces to support the needs of businesses, nonprofits and individuals in Chase, Coffey, Greenwood, Lyon, Morris, Osage, Wabaunsee and Woodson counties surrounding COVID-19 relief.

The GEADRF raised more than $200,000 and provided 119 grants totaling $180,000 to nonprofits and businesses in their response, recovery and rebuilding efforts.

The Business Partner Award is given to the local business that has provided crucial support to the United Way of the Flint Hills in its efforts to raise funds and awareness about the issues facing our community. This business is nominated by the UWFH staff and chosen by the Board of Trustees.

Frontier Farm Credit supports community efforts through community service and corporate matches. Several Frontier Farm Credit staff members volunteered to work at the United Way Drive Thru Food Drive in August 2020 and spent hours accepting, sorting and packaging food donations for use in area food pantries.

The Spirit Award is given to the campaign partner whose leaders have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to encouraging employee participation at all levels of giving. In addition, the partner may show a greatest overall improvement in conducting their employee campaign and have a significant increase in the total amount of money raised for United Way of the Flint Hills the campaign.

USD 252 Southern Lyon County involves its students in efforts to support the United Way. Stiff competition is held among schools and classes in their efforts to raise an increased amount of funds for our community, with the district providing prizes to the classes and employees who give. This district definitely promotes a sense of community and philanthropy, and the United Way and the entire community benefit. USD 252 increased its campaign by 160% over the previous year.

United Way will announce the results of its fundraising campaign during the event. To join the virtual event, go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ3ym8IMJcGFaB3H_Wjz3Qg.

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