Friday with a historic fundraising goal of $2 million.
It's the first time in the organization's 83-year existence that a $2
million goal mark has been set. The 2012 goal was $1,930,000.
"And last year we went over our goal," local United Way President Laura
Bowman said. "I think there¹s more people in need now and that called more
people to action."
Friday's kickoff event in Verizon Wireless Center brought together many of
the campaign's 300 volunteers, who heard stories shared by people from
United Way member agencies and those who have directly benefited from the
Sarah Kruse, CEO of member agency Open Door Clinic in Mankato, said 59
percent of the clinic's patients are uninsured, with many living in poverty
and unable to afford basic health care.
She told a story of a clinic dental screening at a grade school, where a
dental instructor was called over to check a girl who supposedly had "food"
stuck in a tooth.
"It wasn¹t a piece of food; it was an exposed nerve," Kruse said.
Another speaker, Lisa Wojcik, told of the help her family has received from
United Way member agency Gillette Mobile Outreach Clinic.
Their young son has been beset by several neurological conditions, including
cerebral palsy that requires him to wear braces on both legs.
Wojcik said using the mobile clinic's services mean that she and husband
Scott don't have to take time off from work for their son's therapy
sessions, and their son doesn't have to miss school.
"My point is that you never know when the United Way might impact your life
or someone you know and love," she said.
The kickoff event concluded with another first.
Mankato West High senior Tyler Henderson, who does volunteer work for the
Salvation Army, hopped on stage and delivered his rallying speech in the
form of a rap song.
The Greater Mankato Area United Way partners with 40 member agencies and
provides funding for 60 programs.
The organization began in Mankato in 1931, when it raised $6,000.
Since then $45 million has been raised.