Representatives of the United Way of Leavenworth County kicked off an annual fundraising campaign Thursday morning with a breakfast.

Representatives of the United Way of Leavenworth County kicked off an annual fundraising campaign Thursday morning with a breakfast.

“We are entering our 64th campaign year, which is amazing,” said Larry Martin, chairman of United Way of Leavenworth County.

United Way of Leavenworth County supports multiple nonprofit organizations.

“We are a community organization,” said Lisa Nevins, the new executive director of United Way of Leavenworth County. “We are countywide.”

United Way officials have set a goal of raising $200,000 during the campaign.

Caroline Arter, chairwoman for this year’s campaign, encouraged those assembled for Thursday’s kickoff breakfast to be philanthropists.

State Rep. Jeff Pittman said the United Way has been a part of Leavenworth County for a long time.

“We have so many people that want to give back,” he said.

Pittman served as the keynote speaker for Thursday’s breakfast.

He represents the 41st District in the Kansas House of Representatives. The district includes a portion of the city of Leavenworth.

Nevins said she envisions the United Way leading with more of a philanthropic model in the future.

She said the nation weighs too heavily on charity work. She said this may meet immediate needs. But needs keep growing.

She argued it is imperative to work toward a philanthropic model, which she said will look at systemic changes that may result in long-term impacts.

She used the example of homelessness. Instead of only housing people who are homeless, she argued the United Way needs to look at why people are homeless and help develop strategies for eradicating the problem.

Nevins acknowledged changing to a philanthropic model may be difficult.

“Transitions are messy,” she said.

But Nevins said she has faith in the United Way, the local board and the community.

“Even when we may seem quiet, we are working,” she said. “We are working behind the scenes.”

Martin said the annual fundraising campaign will conclude at the end of June, but the main thrust of the campaign will last through December.

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