Impressive United Way Campaign falls slightly short of goal

VERO BEACH — With an aeronautical twist that paid tribute to the 50-year relationship Piper has had with the United Way of Indian River County, organizers had hoped to soar to new heights with its 2010-2011 Campaign. 

On Tuesday evening, supporters learned that the campaign fell just slightly short of its lofty goal of $2.4 million, but those involved still have every confidence the goal will be met before allocations are actually awarded to the designated Partner Agencies.

As they had for the Campaign Take-off party, supporters and agency representatives gathered once more at Piper Aircraft for the Campaign Landing, Annual Meeting and Thank You event.  The campaign was co-chaired this year by Michael Kmetz and Melissa Medlock.

Medlock has also been working on another project, not originally planned when she signed on as co-chair.  A CPA, she is expecting a daughter who is fittingly due to be delivered on April 15.

“There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that nobody knows about,” said Medlock, explaining that they met with United Way staff every week to go over the status of the campaign.

“It’s definitely worth it. Our community needs it as much as other large cities.  I was a Loaned Executive first and would visit the agencies and saw their needs.  It was a real eye opener; it can break your heart.”

For the past two years, Dick and Susan Bergeman have enthusiastically served on the Campaign Cabinet as Orchid Island Residential co-chairs.

“We’ve been long time contributors to the United Way,” said Dick Bergeman.  “We believe in the concept and want to help contribute to its success.”

In his opening remarks to the group, Michael Kint, United Way of Indian River County CEO, noted that in 1961 when the United Fund, as it was called then, was founded, there were nine partner agencies and the campaign raised $44,000.  The United Way now supports 32 agencies, including the newest one, Treasure Coast Community Health.

“We are here tonight honoring you and all of the work you’ve done to meet the needs of the community,” said Kint.

He introduced outgoing Board Chair Tom Manwaring who presided over a brief annual meeting, and introduced the new board, including incoming Board Chair Chad Morrison.

In 2000, the Ralph T. King Award was established; recognizing extraordinary service to the United Way and outstanding achievement. The award this year was given to assiduous supporter Bill Penney.

Co-chairs Kmetz and Medlock thanked all those who participated, paying special tribute to the Loaned Executives, Torchbearers, Top Ten Workplace Campaigns, Campaign Cabinet and Divisions, and Elite Campaign Sponsors.  Chris and Don Loftus were introduced as the co-chairs for the 2011-2012 Campaign.

The moment all were waiting for came when Kmetz announced that the Campaign had raised a total of $2,354,471.35.

“If you knew where we were three weeks ago, it’s absolutely amazing. We asked some to go the extra mile and they came through,” said Kmetz. “When it comes time in a few weeks to do the agency allocations, I would not be at all surprised if that second digit was not a four.” {igallery 362}

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