United Way kicks off community campaign

The stars came out to help kick off the United Way’s annual community campaign on Thursday at Capitol Plaza Hotel.

Greeted by waiting “paparazzi,” members of the leadership team helped present a series of “Uni” awards to pacesetter companies.

The 30 pacesetter companies ended their campaigns earlier this week. Ann Bax, president of United Way, said the group of businesses usually raise about 40 percent of the campaign goal. This year, the group raised 47 percent of the goal, which equals $769,007. The campaign’s overall goal is $1.63 million.

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Members of the United Way of Central Missouri Campaign Leadership Team make a colorful entrance as the local agency hosted its annual Campaign Kickoff at a luncheon Thursday at Capital Plaza Hotel.

Some of the top fundraising pacesetter companies are: Jefferson Bank and Central Mortgage raised $51,954; first time pacesetter Cargill raised $68,800; and Central Bank and Central Technology Services raised $169,481.

Earlier Thursday, United Way employees and volunteers placed large “Live United” signs throughout the community. Flags were hung downtown and yard signs have cropped up as well.

The campaign is volunteer-led with volunteer co-chairs, Ann Littlefield and John Kehoe.

“Volunteerism is the life blood of United Way,” Bax said, noting that Thursday and Friday also serve as the United Way’s annual Days of Caring.

Volunteers help the campaign with everything from video production, event planning and implementation, recruiting volunteers and donations, and working in the 25 partner agencies.

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