Enthusiastic cheers will fill Arrowhead Stadium today, not for the Kansas City Chiefs, but for the kickoff luncheon of the 2014 United Way of Greater Kansas City campaign.
No monetary goal has been set. However, organizers hope to beat the $37.5 million raised in donations last year. The money from individuals, corporations, foundations and other sources will fund 170 agencies, providing 320 programs targeting poverty, literacy, career readiness and well-being.
More than 375,000 Kansas City area residents live in poverty, and more than 145,000 adults in this community can’t read. United Way-funded programs help pull families out of poverty and provide adults with skills so they can be productive citizens.
The goal is to make this a healthier community, said Patrick “Duke” Dujakovich, a Kansas City firefighter and president of the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO. Dujakovich chairs the 2014 United Way campaign with Terry Bassham, chairman, president and CEO of Great Plains Energy and Kansas City Power & Light.
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The work is only possible with the community’s ongoing support. The Great Recession ended in 2009, but it continues to affect charitable giving.
Kansas City’s generosity has always overcome the hard times to help neighbors in need. With new efforts to be announced today, Kansas Citians are challenged to step up once more.