NEW BREMEN — Last year was a breakthrough year for the United Way of Auglaize County, which exceeded its campaign goal for the first time in more than a decade, and that success came when community members joined together to make Auglaize County a better place for everyone.
“Three years ago, after an extremely tough campaign, we all gathered together in the basement of the St. Marys Eagles to celebrate the accomplishment of what we had just tried to undertake,” United Way of Auglaize County Director Randy Fisher said to a crowd gathered at Faith Alliance Church Thursday night for the organization’s campaign kickoff. “It was probably the least successful campaign in the history of our organization. It was extraordinarily tough. It was a bitter pill for us to swallow as an agency and an even more bitter pill for the agencies whom we serve to have to swallow.”
In the tough economic times, the United Way of Auglaize County raised $221,000 for its 20 partner agencies that year, and a promise was made to do better. The organization kept its promise, bringing the community together last year to exceed its goal of $300,000.
“Thanks to the hard work, dedication and commitment to making our community a better place for all of you in this room, we raised $302,000,” Fisher said.
“We exceeded our goal. We reached a level of achievement that had been missing in our organization since 1998. It had been more than 10 years since we had made our goal. Thanks to all of you working together, all of you coming together, putting aside our petty differences, we achieved our goal.”
This year, the United Way of Auglaize County has set the bar higher, announcing the 2012 campaign goal of $315,000. Thanks to Pacesetter Campaigns at Wapakoneta City Schools and Grand Lake Health System and early contributions to this year’s campaign, $83,144 has already been raised.
At the campaign kickoff, Wapakoneta City Schools and Grand Lake Health System were recognized for their contributions. Attendees also viewed the debut of the 2012 campaign video and viewed a presentation from Campaign Chair Anne Larger.
During this year’s campaign, Fisher said the community is faced with the choice in light of the election next month.
“There are forces outside of our community that are trying to divide us, pitting liberal against conservative, Republican against Democrat, pitting the young against the old, the rich against the poor,” he said. “Last year is a shining example of what we can accomplish when liberal works with conservative, when young works with old, when rich, poor, black, white, everybody comes together for a common goal to make our community a better place to live.”
The community has a choice to be a place where everyone can live in dignity, he added, and support the United Way of Auglaize County and its 20 partner agencies that work to help area residents.
“They’re bringing together resources across our community to make sure everybody, no matter what their hand in life, no matter what they’ve been dealt in life, has the opportunity to live in our fine county with dignity,” Fisher said of the partner agencies. “That’s what it’s about.”
Fisher urged attendees to choose to help people in their community.
“I ask you to make that choice with me, and once you’ve made it, I ask that you join the fight,” Fisher said. “I ask you to work with me, to work with Anne, to work with our 20 partner agencies, to work with everybody to achieve that goal. $315,000 is quite the mountain to climb, but we’re already a quarter of the way there.”
Working together is key to reaching this year’s goal, the director said.
“I know that by working together, this goal is very much achievable, but we have to start thinking of ourselves as Auglaize County — not Redskin or Rider, not Tiger or Ranger, not Wildcat or Cardinal, Auglaize County,” Fisher said.