United Way 2018 Campaign Kickoff


United Way of Portage County kicked off its 2018 campaign Friday, Aug. 17, at P.J. Jacobs Junior High School by introducing the 2018 campaign drive chairs, unveiling the 2018 campaign video, revealing pacesetter results from early campaigns, and giving people a first-hand look at United Way’s Project Fresh Start.

This year’s campaign drive chairs – Kathy Davies, Amber Houck, Vikki Nason, Shannon Semmerling, and Anna Weisbrod – talked about the importance of the community’s commitment to United Way.

“Your commitment to United Way through volunteering, through donating, and through advocating has allowed this United Way to be successful, and your continued support will keep making Portage County a great community to live, work and play,” said Weisbrod at the kickoff.

As part of the 2018 theme that encourages people to share their United Way story, several drive chairs shared their story along with other members of the community at the kickoff event. Shannon Cardo talked about how United Way has helped her both personally and professionally. “Along with having a happy home life, I’m now happy in my career as well,” said Cardo, noting she’s received help from several United Way-funded programs. “You can’t put a price tag on that. Being able to make my children proud, starting over the way I had, and now being happy at home and in my career is all because of United Way.”

In addition, the 2018 campaign video featuring Stevens Point native Kathy Kinney, an actress best known for playing Mimi Bobek on “The Drew Carey Show” in the 1990s, premiered at the kickoff. The video is available online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFS-pCnaRW4&t=42s.

Results from early pacesetter campaigns that were revealed included the Village of Plover, $5,420; United Way Endowment, $15,443; Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, $13,886; and Delta Dental of Wisconsin, $376,094. With these campaigns, and money from other donations, United Way of Portage County is currently at 15 percent of the overall community goal of $2.95 million.

United Way of Portage County Executive Director Sue Wilcox said these figures are even more impressive when you factor in how much their campaigns increased from 2017. “The Village of Plover is up 25 percent, Delta Dental increased by 21 percent, the Endowment had an 8 percent increase, and Great Lakes, which had a new generous corporate match this year, had a 75 percent increase,” she said.

The kickoff also included a behind-the-scenes look at Project Fresh Start, United Way’s school supply drive serving 1,100 area youth each year. Project Fresh Start was held at P.J. Jacobs on Saturday, Aug. 18.

The United Way of Portage County 2018 Campaign will take place throughout Portage County at approximately 200 worksites, via direct mail, and through other individual and organizational giving. Donors of $52 or more to the 2018 United Way campaign will receive a GIVE & GET UNITED Coupon Book.

Eligible donors of $52 or more will also be automatically entered into the LIVE UNITED – GIVE UNITED Sweepstakes for a chance to win your choice of one of six vehicles, including a 2019 Ford F-150 XL Super Cab 4x4 valued at more than $42,000 donated by Scaffidi Motors, in addition to a number of other great prizes.

For more information about the campaign, call 715-341-6740, email uway@unitedwaypoco.org, or visit www.unitedwaypoco.org.