MONTICELLO — The White County United Way is taking up the mantle of this year’s fundraising campaign slogan and wants to know, “Who else is willing to step up?”
Fresh off the success of its annual duck race, which saw $6,171 raised toward its $200,000 “Stepping Up for Change” fundraising goal, the White County United Way hopes to continue the momentum with its annual Benefit Cruise on the Madam Carroll.
The cruise, set for Sept. 21, will feature snacks, entertainment by Mojo Runnin’ and on-board and 50/50 raffles. More than $2,500 worth of items will be raffled, which include a kayak, a year’s worth of free tacos, oil changes and pizza, a free night’s stay at local lodges and hotels, a “beer-making experience,” golf club memberships and more.
The Madam Carroll will spend three hours on Lake Freeman, boarding at 6 p.m. and taking off at 7 p.m., then returning to the dock at 10 p.m. Tickets are $28 and people must be 21 and older to attend.
White County United Way Executive Director Nikie Jenkinson said she will devote most of the next three months to securing pledges to meet funding needs throughout 2020. She hopes the Benefit Cruise on the Madam Carroll will bring at least as much revenue as the duck race.
“People in the community want to help, and our sponsors and donors constantly thrill us with their generous and compassionate giving,” she said. “The Madam Carroll has been a champion for our cause, and together with major sponsors — The Redlow Group and Roth Brothers Jewelers — they have ensured that this cruise will raise significant money for our community.”
Last year, more than 170 people boarded the Madam Carroll for the benefit cruise, which raised more than $2,000.
Jenkinson said the benefit cruise is so called because it works to benefit the 16 partner agencies and initiatives the White County United Way will serve in 2020. About half of the money raised by the United Way through fundraisers, direct donations and workplace giving, she said, is distributed to seven local partner agencies serving White County: Sagamore Boy Scout Council, Boys & Girls Club of White County, CDC Resources, Family Health Clinics of Monon and Wolcott, White County Council on Aging, Literacy Volunteers of White County, and Food Finders Food Bank.
Remaining funds directly support WCUW programs and initiatives, such as Reading Junction, Angel Tree, Coats for Kids, Junior Board, Kindergarten Camp, the United Council on Opioids, Social Services Network, Community Mentoring Program, 211, and other community partnerships.
Jenkinson said WCUW “advocates and fights for our neighbors to thrive,” which often means it champions growing service organizations and facilitates community interactions.
“Growing a strong community is heavy work, but when we all do a part, it becomes manageable,” she said.
One example Jenkinson used is the way United Way helps new organizations to work within limitations to better serve their community. From sharing phone services to serving on other organizational boards, she said United Way hopes to be the “ultimate team player” in the community by embracing the United Way motto to “Live United.”
Antionette Valle, of Family Health Clinic, said she finds the partnership between her organization and the United Way essential.
“The partnership between the WCUW and the Family Health Clinic is full of great appreciation. Several of our families benefit from the annual give-back events,” she said. “United Way funds have also allowed us to get health services paid for emergency circumstances. It is an honor to work alongside an organization like WCUW that shares the same vision of seeing the community thrive and wanting to build a place for the future. WCUW is a partnership that comes around full circle.”
For those who can’t make the cruise, Jenkinson said people can contribute through workplace giving or by direct donation. Call 574-583-6544 for more information or visit WCUW online at www.whitecountyunitedway.org.