For 12 weeks, volunteers and community leaders at more than 700 businesses and organizations throughout the area participated in the United Way of Greater Kansas City’s Spirit of Caring campaign.
On Thursday, those efforts were recognized during the organization’s annual victory celebration at the InterContinental Hotel. Although no monetary goal was set, just over $33 million was raised in 2016.
A little more than $35 million was raised during last year’s campaign.
“Year after year I’m amazed at how each of these businesses and organizations come together to support our greater Kansas City community,” Brent Stewart, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Kansas City, said in a statement.
The organization this year focused on businesses whose donations have lapsed or tapered off over the last few years. The theme was You, Me, One KC. The goal was to address key needs at every stage of a person’s life to create what the organization billed as a “cycle of success.”
About $30.5 million of this year’s total came from community contributions. Another $2.5 million was raised through the annual Heartland Combined Federal Campaign, which includes workplace campaigns of federal employees throughout the area.
Two companies raised more than $2 million each: Burns & McDonnell, whose campaign raised $2.1 million, and Hallmark, which raised $2 million.
Black & Veatch raised $1.7 million, while KCP&L raised $1 million.
Several companies, such as Burns & McDonnell, Garmin International, BKD and GEHA, reported double-digit increases in giving from last year.
GEHA’s Vanessa Callaghan was the recipient of the 2016 Employee Campaign Manager of the Year award for coordinating the company’s campaign.
The overall campaign, Stewart said, was a success in several ways.
“It’s success across all we do to support our community,” he said. “It’s volunteering with those in our community with the most need. It’s success generating new relationships and friendships through involvement with ... our next generation of philanthropists. And it’s success forging new ground through support of new programs and initiatives.”
Among the successes noted at the United Way of Greater Kansas City’s Spirit of Caring campaign celebration on Thursday were:
▪ BKD combined giving with trick or treating by hosting visitors from Della Lamb. Their campaign helped increase their total by more than 20 percent.
▪ Hallmark added 212 new donors this year.
▪ JE Dunn offered its first-ever corporate match.
▪ Garmin increased its campaign total by more than 20 percent.
▪ Country Club Bank, for the first time in its history, broke the $100,000 mark.
▪ John Deere created Casual for a Cause, using its dress code to increase giving.
▪ Ford, in partnership with United Auto Workers Local 249, worked to generate an increase of more than $75,000.