One Day United Way Fundraiser set for Tuesday

The United Way of the Kearney Area will debut a new fundraiser next week: One Day United Way.

The public is invited to donate next Tuesday (March 21) to raise the final $75,000 of United Way’s $430,000 goal. Its 2022-23 campaign began last October and ends March 31.

Open House

UWKA will also hold two open houses Tuesday. It will serve coffee and pastries 8-9 a.m. at the UWKA office in Suite 32 at 4009 Sixth Ave.

Tuesday afternoon, from 4-7 p.m., the public is invited to stop in at the Kearney Country Club at 2800 19th Ave. to enjoy refreshments, meet the staff of UWKA’s 21 partner agencies and learn more about the campaign. People who get a card signed at each partner agency’s table will be entered into a drawing for a free Chromebook laptop donated by Walmart.

One Day United Way Fundraiser

Savannah Lyon, the UWKA’s new executive director, said the board came up with the One Day United Way idea last fall. It’s patterned after the highly successful 24-hour Give Where You Live event that has been held for the last 10 years by the Kearney Area Community Foundation.

“It’s been a rocky year, what with the economy and other factors. Things are changing. United Way worldwide is facing big changes,” Lyon said.

Many businesses have stopped holding employee campaigns for United Way, she noted. “We had to ask ourselves, how are we going to run our campaign? Do we need to adjust?” Lyon said.

Jerry Hultgren, president of the United Way board of directors, echoed that. He said since the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and individuals have “changed the avenues in which they donated, so we’ve been thinking of newer avenues and ways to raise money, too.”


“We thought the one-day focus would be a great way for the community to give back. Anyone is welcome to come in, touch base and learn more about the services our partner agencies provide,” he said.

This month, United Way also mailed letters to 1,200 past donors, seeking to narrow that campaign shortfall. “As we rapidly approach the end of the 2023 campaign, your support is needed more than ever. As you know, housing and grocery prices are on the rise. Families who were already struggling can’t keep up,” that letter said.

UWKA has posted a video on its website to introduce the public to its partner agencies and explain how donations impact them.

Jersey Auction Fundraiser

United Way Jersey Auction Fundraiser






One campaign staple is back: the United Way 23rd annual jersey auction, set for Sunday at the Viaero Center following the 3 p.m. Tri-City Storm hockey game. “It should be fun. Families can come enjoy the game, then stay for the auction,” Lyon said.

United Way helps fund 21 partner agencies in six counties: Buffalo, Kearney, Franklin, Harlan, Phelps and Custer. Its campaign sponsor this year is Aloe, which has paid for printing and other expenses during the campaign.

Lyon said she and the board are excited about the new fundraising approach.

“A lot of agencies said if they didn’t have funds from the United Way, they wouldn’t be able to do this or that,” she said.

“The money they might receive from federal grants can’t be used to provide things like cleaning supplies or clothes for job interviews or food. What do people do if they don’t have the cash to meet those needs?” she asked.

United Way will hold its annual meeting April 19 at the Kearney Country Club. Meanwhile, its board will continue to explore new ideas as it wraps up the current campaign and looks ahead. “Things we did in the past that worked are probably worth trying again, maybe with a different twist,” Lyon said.

View Mary Jane Skala's full article here