An uncrushable Kansas City community spirit and willingness of people to help neighbors in need lifted donations to the United Way of Greater Kansas City above last year’s total. That was a great reason to celebrate.
United Way organizers told about 500 people at Union Station Thursday night that $35.26 million had been raised by 60,000 people in 1,600 companies and organizations. No monetary goal had been set, but volunteers had hoped to at least match the $35 million donated in 2014.
The positive result means the United Way will be able to fund the 170 agencies and about 300 programs in the Kansas City area that serve people in need. Brent Stewart, president and chief executive of the United Way of Greater Kansas City, praised the volunteers and campaign co-chairs Alise Martiny, business manager of the Greater Kansas City Building Trades Council, and Roshann Parris, president and chief executive of Parris Communications.
“They were absolutely the dynamic duo,” Stewart said.
Donations to the United Way will address four key concerns: poverty, literacy, career readiness and well-being, which includes physical and mental health and neighborhood safety.
People gave to the campaign despite the area’s continuing struggles to cope with a somewhat weak economy. The increase in giving was a relief after last year, when the total fell below the $37.5 million raised in 2013.
But the need was explained clearly, and those who could give responded.
Parris shared a quote that to her embodies this community’s seemingly endless spirit of giving: “You can’t have a perfect day without doing something for someone who can never say thank you.” She said that’s a “commitment from tens of thousands of generous Kansas Citians who stood up to say: ‘We are here, we care. So we give.’”
It’s a great way to start the holiday season with hopes for a brighter New Year.