United Way celebrates its 2012 fundraising campaign

Published 2:00 pm Friday, February 22, 2013

Ann Austin, executive director of the Freeborn County United Way, speaks to a crowd of about 50 people Wednesday at the United Way's annual meeting. -- Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

Ann Austin, executive director of the Freeborn County United Way, speaks to a crowd of about 50 people Wednesday at the United Way’s annual meeting. — Kelli Lageson/Albert Lea Tribune

The United Way of Freeborn County had a lunch celebration Wednesday to commemorate its 2012 Live United campaign.

The organization raised just over $628,000; the goal was $660,000. The lunch celebration was a chance to recognize volunteers, agency members and anyone who helped with the campaign.

United Way Executive Director Ann Austin told the group, of about 50 people, that this year the organization has been focusing on the areas of education, income and health. The organization is also working with partner agencies and the community to make these a priority.

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“We need to all have that common vision,” Austin said.

She also told the lunch attendees that the United Way wants to be accountable for bettering the community.

“We want to make sure we’re setting goals and achieving those goals regularly,” Austin said.

The lunch celebration was also a chance to recognize donors and those who helped with the campaign. In 2012, there were 2,816 donors who contributed to the campaign. A total of 387 new donors gave more than $40,000, and the average donation for any individual was $135. There were 134 Heart Club donors — or those who donate more than $500 — which totaled more than $138,000.

For the 2012 campaign there were 215 businesses that participated, with more than 2,000 people donating through workplace campaigns. That raised 84 percent of the total campaign.

The annual celebration was at the Carnegie Event Center in Albert Lea.

Other recognition was as follows:


Community builders awards

The top five giving companies in each division (based on employee number):

Alamco Wood Products, Albert Lea Area Schools, Albert Lea Electric, Albert Lea Select Foods, Alliance Benefit Group, Alliant Energy, American Bank, Cargill Meat Solutions, Cedar Valley Services, Crossroads Trailer, Farmers State Bank, Freeborn County employees, Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services, Herberger’s, Independent Service Company, Innovance, Larson Manufacturing, Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, Minnesota Corrugated Box, Motor Inn, Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen, Streater, United Parcel Service, US Bank and Ventura Foods.


Employer participation awards

Companies in Freeborn County that had 100 percent employee participation in the 2011 United Way campaign:

Adams & Winter, Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, Americana Insurance, Alliance Benefit Group, American Bank, Community Technologies & Services, Home Federal Savings Bank, ISC Financial Advisors, Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen, State Farm Insurance-Nancy Vanderwaerdt, The Children’s Center, United Employee’s Credit Union and Zenk, Read & Trysgtad.

The top five companies with more than 20 percent increase:

ISC Financial Advisors, Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services, Crossroad’s Trailer, Albert Lea Tribune and Ventura Foods.

Most increased employee campaign went to Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen, which raised more than $17,000.

Most generous employee campaign went to Albert Lea Select Foods for its donation of more than $100,000.

New partner was Vern Eide, which raised more than $4,500.


Volunteer awards

Volunteer of the Year: Jon Murray

Live United Award: Alamco