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Mitchell United Way exceeds annual fundraising goal for 40th straight year

Of the over $411,000 raised, the non-profit estimates approximately $402,000 will stay local

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Mitchell United Way Campaign Chair Jayson Plamp reveals that the non-profit has exceeded it's annual fundraising goal for the 40th straight year at the organization's annual luncheon at Dakota Wesleyan University on Friday, Sept. 12. (Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic)

Mitchell United Way has met and exceeded its annual fundraising goal for the 40th straight year, organization leaders announced at their annual luncheon event Friday.

The luncheon — hosted at Dakota Wesleyan University’s new School of Business, Innovation and Leadership — gathered over 50 members of the organization to announce their 2021 campaign had garnered $411,346, well over the non-profit’s goal of $385,000.

“That’s a hefty amount of money for a community the size of Mitchell,” Jayson Plamp, Mitchell United Way campaign chair, said. “Not only did we beat the goal, I would say we obliterated it. I'm thankful for everybody coming together and all of the contributions that we have out there.”

Mitchell United Way’s 2021 fundraising campaign, branded with the slogan “Count on Me,” was actually inspired by a song Plamp had heard.

“When I sat down to ponder the theme for this year’s United Way campaign, the words of Bruno Mars came to mind,” Plamp said, referring to the lyrics “we’ll find out what we’re made of when we are called to help our friends in need.”

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Kourtney Denne, Jen Waldera and Mary Beyer of ELO Prof. LLC repaint a parking spot outside the Mitchell Area Safehouse. (Ellen Bardash / Republic)
Kourtney Denne, Jen Waldera and Mary Beyer of ELO Prof. LLC repaint a parking spot outside the Mitchell Area Safehouse as part of Mitchell United Way's annual Day of Caring in 2018. (File photo)

Plamp said everyone in the community has faced trials and tribulations over the past year, and that everyone has been called on to help a friend in need. He pointed out that donors were publicly declaring the community can count on them in their times of need.

The 2021 campaign saw a massive amount of donors from the area. Over 200 individuals were inducted into the Silver Heart Club for giving between $250 and $500, 116 were entered into Golden Heart Club for donations between $500 and $1,000 and 70 were inducted into the Grand Heart Club for gifts of over $1,000.

In addition, 70 businesses donated at least $500, with Trail King Industries donating over $30,000 — the largest donation to this year’s campaign.

Hitting their mark this year made for the 40th straight year that Mitchell United Way has met their fundraising goal, something Plamp said came with a little bit of pressure.

“You know, I got to be a little nervous because I was reminded more than once that 40 times in the past we had hit our goal,” Plamp said.

Of the over $411,000 raised, the non-profit estimates approximately $402,000 will stay local, helping offset operation costs of 32 partner agencies — such as Big Friend Little Friend, Davison County Child Protection and Mitchell Area Safe House — in nine surrounding counties.

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“That's a real testament. That's a big number. And we should appreciate all that,” Plamp said.

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Mitchell United Way honored businesses with campaign awards for their support of the non-profit's mission.

To be eligible, partner agencies must have a focus to provide health, education or financial stability services and opportunities to area residents.

In addition to celebrating their fundraising, organization leaders also highlighted their annual Day of Caring, which saw 151 volunteers from 21 community businesses and organizations donate their time and labor toward community improvement projects such as painting at John Paul II Elementary and maintenance work on the city’s bike trails.

Lee Anderson, president of Mitchell United Way, said despite some board members hitting term limits, the show will go on, as 2022’s Day of Caring has officially been scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 10.

Anderson pointed out, however, that Mitchell United Way is in need of projects, and encouraged anyone with an idea to reach out to the non-profit.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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