United Way kicks off annual fundraising campaign


Guest Columnist

The 2019 United Way of Clinton County campaign kicked off on Sept. 19. 

My name is Rich Klahn, and I am the campaign chair this year. I want to thank the United Way staff (Cheryl McCulloh, Jerri K Ross and Kori Shannon) for all the hard work they put in to make United Way as successful as it is in our county. 

I also want to thank all of you.  This fundraising campaign is a community effort. So, whether you are a campaign volunteer, a donor, an agency funded by United Way, or an individual who is positively impacted by United Way and the agencies we support, I want to sincerely thank you.

I was born and raised in Clinton County and have spent most of my life here. There’s no other place I want to live, and that’s because of the people we have here. There are other parts of the state and the country that are growing faster or have better economies, but I believe in the people of Clinton County. Our people step up in times of need, and this is one of those times. The need for United Way funds is as great as ever, and I’m confident that we, as a community, will be there in that time of need.

Our goal this year is to raise $650,000. Last year, we raised about $600,000. I am confident that we can reach our goal this year, but we need to fight for this together. I am fighting alongside you, and I know Cheryl, Jerri K and Kori are here for you if you have any questions or concerns.

We are continuing with some special fundraising events that have been successful in the past.

We, of course, have our Fork Some Pork event coming up on Oct. 11.  This has been a great event for many years.  We have terrific volunteers who cook the delicious meals for us, so please strongly consider having some pork for lunch that day. Include your friends, your colleagues, your family, and anyone else you can think of.

We had a trivia night for last year’s campaign that was a nice fundraiser for us, so we are planning to do that again in February. Please put that on your calendar. We also did a raffle last year, and details are still being put together on that.

One new and exciting event we are trying out this year is a kids Halloween costume contest. This will be done online. There will be fliers at schools going home with students to share with their parents that will give simple step- by-step instructions on how to create a page for their child with a picture of them in their Halloween costume. The parents then will be able to share their child’s page on social media so friends and family from anywhere can vote by donating ($1 is the equivalent of 1 vote).  

We will have age divisions from babies up to sixth grade, and a winner in each division. There will be a very attractive prize package for each winner to give them some incentive to win. The child in each age division who raises the most money wins.  This is also a way for parents to teach their children the importance of raising money for a great cause.

We have a new campaign video this year. Add it to your company’s campaign activities or view it on our website at clintonunitedway.org. I want to thank my First Assistant Campaign Chair, Julie Witt, for her expertise in helping with the video.

The focal point of our campaign is helping people. If you were at our kickoff event, you would have heard three people tell their stories of receiving a hand-up. With all the talk of fundraising events, campaigns and agencies, I never want to lose sight of the actual individuals who are positively impacted by the funds that were raised.”

Their stories are what matter most and why we are all here. These people and United Way volunteers are willing to speak to employee events and tell the results of giving to United Way. 

Join the fight — get involved by giving to the United Way this fall! 

Rich Klahn, assistant vice president at Clinton National Bank, is this year’s campaign chair for the 2019 United Way of Clinton County.