United Way kicks off 2016 campaign


United Way of Portage County kicked off its 2016 campaign Friday, Aug. 12, at Ben Franklin Junior High School by introducing the 2016 campaign drive chair family, unveiling the 2016 campaign video, and giving people a first-hand look at United Way’s Project Fresh Start.

The Hofmeister/Okray family, owners and operators of Spectra Print in Stevens Point, are chairing the 2016 campaign. With 18 members serving as drive chairs, it’s the largest ever drive chair contingent for United Way of Portage County, as quite possibly largest at United Way throughout the world.

“We simply don’t like to think small here in Portage County, so for 2016 we welcome an entire clan as our Campaign Drive Chairs,” said Sue Wilcox, United Way of Portage County Executive Director.

After their introduction, Eric Hofmeister unveiled the 2016 campaign video, which features a theme of “We are Portage County. Together, we are United Way.” “The video does a good job illustrating how children, parents, grandparents, volunteers, young people, elderly people, caring people all work together to make sure that we live in a community where neighbors help one another,” he said.

The video is available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImF5dOewCJ0.

The Hofmeister/Okray family also presented results from early pacesetter campaigns held at Cherek, Pucci & Quick, S.C.; Midwest Hardware Association; Spectra Print; and Delta Dental. Cherek, Pucci & Quick, S.C., had 100-percent participation and raised $2,288, while Midwest Hardware collected a total of $4,618. Spectra Print contributed $37,490 in employee and corporate donations, and Delta Dental raised $277,000 and had a 97-percent participation rate. All four pacesetter campaigns hit record-setting levels to kick of the 2016 community campaign.

“In total, as of today, we are already at 12 percent of the overall community goal,” said Eric Hofmeister. “What an incredible start to what we expect will be an incredible campaign.”

The kickoff also included a behind-the-scenes look at Project Fresh Start, United Way’s school supply drive serving 1,200 area youth each year. Project Fresh Start will be held at Ben Franklin on Saturday, Aug. 13, and the facility was set up to show the amount of school supplies that will be distributed to local students.

The United Way of Portage County 2016 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 2016 United Way campaign will receive a GIVE & GET UNITED Coupon Book AND eligible donors of $52 or more will also be automatically entered into the TRAVEL UNITED Sweepstakes for a chance to win a 2017 vehicle donated by Scaffidi Motors or 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.