In closing out its 2012 campaign year, the United Way of Leavenworth County looked forward.

In closing out its 2012 campaign year, the United Way of Leavenworth County looked forward.

In 2012, the organization's annual campaign fell short of raising the $390,000 its board of directors had set as a goal.

“This year's results highlighted the challenge facing the United Way,” said Executive Director Nancy Bauder. “The numbers of employees, which is where a lot of our income comes from, have been decreasing.”

Despite that, incoming Board Chairwoman Janette Labbee-Holdeman said Wednesday that those in the Walnut Room of Mead Hall at the University of Saint Mary who had worked on the campaign had nothing to feel bad about.

“Although we failed to reach our 2012 goal, which was $390,000, our board of directors and volunteers are engaged in keeping administrative costs low and finding cost-effective ways to sponsor our agencies and do everything possible to stretch your contributions,” she said.

Bauder said the flipside to the decrease in employees from layoffs or other cutbacks is that those employees who did give gave more than they did in 2012.

All told, the United Way raised about $350,000 to distribute to its 21 different member
human service agencies. The services of those organizations reach one of about every three residents of Leavenworth County.

Bauder said among the bright spots in the fundraising effort were a 38-percent increase in donations from individual residents and increases in contributions from some companies and groups like Leavenworth County employees and those at the Eisenhower Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Three companies ― Frontier Community Credit Union, First State Bank and Trust in Basehor and Geiger Ready Mix in Leavenworth had 100 percent of their employees sign up for payroll deduction.

“Without those companies, we would not be able to meet our goal or even get near our goal,” said United Way Treasurer Karen Logan.

As they recognized those companies and organizations, Bauder said the United Way was also preparing for next year and beyond, with volunteers working on task forces to determine the exact scope of the need for services in the county. Targeting areas like the reduction of poverty and the needs for healthcare in the community, Bauder said those efforts should give the United Way a leg up as it prepares to enter the next campaign, now scheduled to kick off Sept. 4 this year.

“The results of these task forces will assist our board and committee members as we make our funding decisions in the future,” she said.“What I like about these task forces is that they are looking at measurable results, so that when we do go out and ask for people to donate, we know that it is making improvements.”

The United Way thanked those who gave and who worked behind the scenes to raise funds or promote events for the campaign during Wednesday's annual meeting, including longtime board members Jilinda White and Phil Chiles, both of whom are stepping down after about a decade each of service.

Outgoing Campaign Chairman Blake Waters commended those who had given of either time or funds, reminding those in the audience that all of the contributions were appreciated.

“Your gift to the United Way of Leavenworth County is much more than just a donation, I hope you all know that,” he said. “It's an investment in our future as a community.”