By Jake Mathias
The United Way of Portage County announced at a victory celebration on December 2 that it has exceeded the group’s 2015 fundraising campaign goal by nearly $30,000.
The 2015 campaign goal, set at $2.8 million dollars, was exceeded and totalled $2,828,280. The campaign was organized by the Cooper family of Timmy and London Cooper, their children Lucy, Eloise and Phineas and Timmy’s parents, Bob and Nancy Cooper. The funds support the United Way’s programs for the year of 2016 including the new Early Years Collaborative which focuses on early childhood development.
“There have been some uphills, but there have also been some really fast downhills,” London Cooper said. “Living in Portage County and giving back has been a humble experience.”
The celebration was held in the Grand Hall at SentryWorld. Representatives from the Cap Services Family Crisis Center shared their stories and helped reveal the record-breaking campaign total.
Sue Wilcox, executive director of the United Way of Portage County, was visibly stunned by the community’s support and gave a tearful thank you.
“All of this is because of you. Because you believe in a true community. That it means so much more than a place to live,” she said. “Your definition is
about connection. It’s about a helping hand where it’s needed. It’s about comforting those in pain…We are blessed to live here in such a wonderful community.”
The winner of the highly sought after grand prize, a new car donated every year by Scaffidi Motors, was Carlos Reyna of Wisconsin Rapids who won a 2016 Hyundai Sonata during a game of Plinko. Any donor who donated $52 to this year’s campaign or matched or exceeded their donation from 2014 was automatically entered to drawn as a grand prize contestant.
Other travel related prizes were awarded to qualifying donors including a $1,500 Amtrak package won by John and Patty Noel who, ever the philanthropists, subsequently donated their prize to be raffled at the YMCA’s Passport to Paradise benefit. A trip to Door County, a $1,000 flight voucher and a trip to Lambeau field were also up for grabs.
The campaign was well on its way to achieving its goal before it even started as pacesetter businesses starting fundraising early.
At the beginning of the campaign in August, the total raised by the pacesetter businesses was $297,086, about 11 percent of the goal. The funds raised by the campaign support 30 United Way programs focusing on education, income, health and community basics.
The pacesetter donations include:
- Delta Dental: $275,000
- Cooper Dental: $10,563
- Spectra Print: $4,676
- Midwest Hardware Association: $4,611
- Cherek, Pucci & Quick: $2,236
For more information on the United Way of Portage County or its programs, visit www.unitedwaypoco.org or call 2-1-1.
Individual donors will be formally recognized at a dinner on February 9.