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United Way celebrates meeting fundraising goal for 39th time

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Pam Olinger, United Way campaign chairwoman, right, speaks to the crowd of attendees during Friday's Mitchell's United Way luncheon at the Highland Conference Center. The 2019 campaign helped Mitchell's United Way meet its fundraising goal of $445,000. Also pictured is Derek Fahey, at left. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

In its 39th annual fundraising campaign, the Mitchell United Way successfully reached its goal yet again.

Community members, business leaders and volunteers gathered Friday to celebrate another successful fundraising campaign, dishing out awards during a luncheon at the Highland Conference Center. Pam Olinger, United Way campaign chairwoman, proudly announced this year’s campaign raised $445,218, narrowly surpassing the fundraising goal of $445,000.

“We all knew this year was going to be extremely challenging to meet our goal, because have an agriculture industry that has been through an unprecedented amount struggles,” Olinger said. “With the flooding that took place as well, we were very nervous about this campaign goal.”

The luncheon kicked off with a video highlighting all the outreach and support local nonprofit organizations have delivered for community members. Olinger recognized how the 2019 campaign saw 60 Grand Heart Club donors, who donated at least $1,000, along with 133 Golden Heart donors who donated anywhere from $500 to $900.

“That’s absolutely amazing, and I know a lot of organizations really tried to push people to donate, because a lot of the struggles this year,” Olinger said.

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Trail King Industries was honored with the Leadership Award, which meant the local manufacturing company donated upwards to $40,000 for the United Way fundraising campaign.

Derek Fahey, United Way board member, noted how the level of participation and the funds that were raised during this year’s 12th annual Day of Caring, one of the events that was part of the 2019 fundraising campaign. The Aug. 14 event welcomed 190 volunteers, along with 18 different projects that were completed, which included landscaping projects around the city and volunteer work for the Dakotafest setup.

“It was great to see how much more participation we had this year at the Day of Caring, and we hope to keep gaining more,” Fahey said.

Fahey also announced the retirement of two board of directors, Julie Brookbank and Pete Spates. In addition, Fahey presented Olinger with the Volunteer Service Award. Brookbank emphasized how vital it is for community members to continue supporting United Way’s mission.

“Everyone on this board knows that the next meeting for the upcoming year’s fundraising campaign begins in the spring, and we start at $0 again,” Brookbank said. “It’s a giant challenge that requires the efforts of dozens and dozens of people, and I couldn't be happier and more proud to be a part of it.”

Related Topics: NONPROFITS
Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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