Beating expectations: United Way raises 103% of 2020 campaign goal

Cooke County United Way representatives reveal the $414,344 fundraising total, painted onto burlap.

Cooke County United Way raised more than its $400,000 goal during its 2020 fundraising campaign, the organization’s leaders announced Thursday.

The grand total of $414,344 — or 3.6% more than was hoped for — was unveiled during CCUW’s celebration luncheon Nov. 7. Leaders also honored 32 businesses, including 13 Pacesetter partners, who supported the campaign.

“Because of you, our campaign was once again very successful,” campaign Chairwoman Kristi Rigsby told the crowd at the Gainesville Civic Center.

This year’s campaign raised about $40,000 more than the total announced in November 2018 at the conclusion of the previous campaign. However, donations through December will still be counted as part of the 2020 fundraising total, Executive Director Stephanie Melchert said.

Seven out of the 131 businesses and organizations that contributed were new to the campaign, she said.

“Obviously we surpassed our goal, and I can’t take any of the credit,” said Melchert, who started as executive director Monday, Oct. 28. “Nadine (Creswell) and Maysen (Freeman) ran this campaign along with our board members” and a host of volunteers.

One new Pacesetter company, Petroflex North America/Advanced Pedestals, was among the 13 businesses recognized for raising 65% of the organization’s fundraising goal during the first month of this year’s campaign.

United Way leaders also named five entities that increased their contributions by at least 50% compared to last year: Gainesville’s Robert E. Lee Intermediate School, Nascoga Federal Credit Union, Trident Process Systems, Gainesville Junior High School and Select Energy.

The nonprofit’s Power of the Purse event broke records, event committee members said. POP 2019 netted over $31,000, according to POP Committee Chairwoman Jessica Bullock.

Both POP 2020 and the celebration concluding next year’s fundraising campaign are being moved, Melchert said. The celebration will take place in January 2021 so totals through December can be tallied and announced, she said.

Power of the Purse is scheduled for Nov. 5, 2020, according to Bullock.

Cooke County United Way distributed $300,000 to 22 organizations this past year, including four nonprofits that hadn’t received grants from United Way before. Those were MHMR Visions, My Brother’s House men’s shelter in Muenster, Stanford House senior activity center in Gainesville and the Student Support Council at Gainesville State School, Melchert said.

Other recipients included Abigail’s Arms Cooke County Family Crisis Center, the American Red Cross, Area Agency on Aging of Texoma, Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of Cooke County, Boys Baseball of Cooke County, CASA of North Texas, the Cooke County Youth Fair, DASH, Girl Scouts, Home Hospice of Cooke County, Meals on Wheels, Muenster Youth Council, North Texas Youth Connection, Camp Sweeney, TAPS, the Texas Ramp Project and VISTO food pantry.

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