A roar of applause and cheers filled the Highland Conference Center on Friday as the Mitchell United Way unrolled a lengthy banner.
The banner revealed that, for the 37th year in a row, the Mitchell United Way met its annual fundraising goal. The group raised $443,159, surpassing its $440,000 target.
“We’re really excited. I knew we were going to be close and we thought the numbers were moving in the right direction,” said Pete Spates, the 2017 campaign chair for the Mitchell United Way. “And the sheer fact that we didn’t have to do an all-out calling blitz at the end gave me good indication we were probably there.”
The money will help support 31 partner agencies in the Mitchell area this year, Mitchell United Way officials told the crowd gathered for the group’s annual recognition banquet.
The 2017 fundraising kicked off with the group’s 10th annual Day of Caring on Aug. 16, when 167 volunteers took on more than 30 various projects to benefit the community.
As the deadline for this year’s goal neared, Spates admitted he was getting nervous.
“I was a little worried, but not terribly,” Spates said. “We’ve had years we’ve definitely needed to make some of those last-minute calls. And though we made some this year, it wasn’t as many.”
Last year, the group raised $439,115, surpassing a $436,000 goal.
And officials continuously reminded the crowd the money will benefit not just Mitchell, but many surrounding areas, including Bridgewater and Emery.
Present at Friday’s luncheon were the participants in the Girls on the Run program at the Bridgewater-Emery School District, thanking contributors for helping fund the organization. The girls in attendance were one example, Spates said, that proved how helpful United Way can be for surrounding areas.
While the big unveiling for the year concluded the event, officials also announced next year’s Day of Caring, which will take place on Aug. 15.
And while next year’s fundraiser plans are already in the works, Spates reminded the crowd the importance of the work they’re doing now, and the benefits they provide.
“Just a huge thank you to the agencies for all you do,” he said. “You’re making Mitchell and the surrounding area a better place to live and a better place to be.”