2012 Campaign Kicks Off

The 2012 United Way of Greater Kansas City fundraising campaign officially began with campaign leaders asking the community to turn stories of hopelessness into hope. The campaign got off to a great start with the early campaigns of 10 Pacesetter companies raising more than $4.1 million.

Campaign co-chairs Dan Hesse and Jay Lind, speaking to more than 700 attendees at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel Crown Center, challenged companies to increase their commitment to United Way by five percent. That can be a five percent increase in total donations, a five percent increase in participation, or both.

  “This might sound familiar as this is the challenge we presented to the community last year,” Hesse said. “The results were tremendous with more than 200 companies meeting or exceeding the five percent challenge in 2011. That kind of increase in commitment made significant differences in the lives of so many.”

  “Each September United Way supporters gather - as we are today - to kick off the annual fundraising campaign. And each September there is a feeling of expectation,” Hesse said. “We expect our community to commit to making a positive difference in the lives of others.”

It is because of the community’s generosity that “stories of hopelessness are being turned into stories of hope,” Hesse added.

Here are specific highlights from our 10 Pacesetter companies:

HNTB Inc. employees gathered to “Celebrate the Stars of United Way” during their 2012 campaign rally. HNTB employees also participated in a silent auction raising an additional $2,100 for United Way. HNTB’s total giving this year was $118,952.

New Directions Behavioral Health hosted a Bizarre Bazaar with all sorts of fun stuff for sale to raise money, as well as cotton candy, popcorn and even a fortune teller. New Directions is reporting an amazing 59 percent increase in its total giving this year to a total of $32,374.  

Bank of Kansas City’s campaign star was J. Matthew, a heroic dog who saved his owner’s life during a horrific attack and inspired the new pet shelter at Rose Brooks Center, a United Way partner agency. Bank of Kansas City’s total giving increased by 25 percent from last year to a total of $66,143.

ReDiscover had several awesome drawings and fabulous presentations. Almost all staff increased by their giving by 10% or more. ReDiscover’s total giving this year is up 16 percent to $16,898.

Sheraton Kansas City Hotel Crown Center and Westin Crown Center created an extra incentive for givers at the Caring Club level: a free coffee and Danish twice a month at any of the hotels’ restaurants. Sheraton and Westin’s total giving was up 20 percent from last year to a total of $41,440.

Saint Luke’s Health System’s special campaign activities included a picnic-style hotdog lunch sponsored by the Security Department; a blue jeans/team spirit day; and a candy gram promotion to further participation. Total giving at Saint Luke’s went up 16 percent to a total of $227,698.

Waddell & Reed and Ivy Funds’ events included Wiffleball with former Royals pitcher Dennis Leonard and a Wii Bowling Tournament. Waddell and Reed & Ivy Funds’ total giving was up 10 percent from last year to a total of $401,742.

Garmin held a carnival theme with a flash mob and a performance by a musical group composed of folks from Garmin’s management team with the name of “Live Circuit.” Garmin’s total giving this year increased 11 percent to a total of $610,678.

Hallmark employees toured United Way funded agencies and listened to speakers to become better educated about United Way’s work in the community. Hallmark has more than 330 Leadership Circle members. Hallmark’s total giving this year is $2,618,000.

The 2012 United Way of Greater Kansas City fundraising campaign concludes with a Victory Celebration November 15 at the Overland Park Convention Center.