United Way of Danville partners with Carmack Car Capitol to sweeten deal for donors

By The News-Gazette

DANVILLE — While many give to the annual United Way campaign to help others and their community, local organizers are giving them an added incentive this year.

The United Way of Danville Area is partnering with Carmack Car Capitol to provide one donor with a 2018 Honda CR-V or $20,000 in cash.

“We have so many needs in our community,” President Sherri Askren said, adding that the donations are used to assist everyone from newborns to seniors in Vermilion County and western Indiana. “We hope this encourages more people to donate.”

The organization’s 2017 general campaign kicked off this past Thursday.

Askren — along with campaign Co-Chairwomen Michelle Campbell of Neuhoff Media and Lisa Fudge, formerly of County Market — hope to raise $600,000.

The goal is the same as last year’s, but the current effort has only

brought in about $495,000 — something Askren attributes to the still-recovering local economy, the loss of a longtime corporate donor and a number of donations still trickling in.

“Last year, we were able to dip into our reserves,” she said, adding that won’t be the case this year.

This year, the organization will allocate about $359,526 to 17 area

agencies — a drop of about $45,820 from 2016-17. It also had to cut

$22,000 from its operating budget of $182,000.

That’s why Askren and her board decided to offer an incentive program. Under the program, anyone who donates at least $104 this year will be eligible for a drawing for the car or cash.

“That’s $2 a week out of someone’s paycheck,” Askren explained of the amount. “In the past, when we’ve gone out and given presentations, we’ve said that giving $1 a week is like giving up a bottle of pop or water. Now we’re asking for $2. It’s a little more, but you still won’t miss it.”

Askren said other offices around the country, who have seen donations drop off, have used it to boost contributions. For example, the United Way of Onslow County in South Carolina more than doubled the amount it took in from $275,000 to $600,000 in a few years. The local program is already off to a promising start.

“We went out to UPS, and they went crazy for the car,” Askren said. “They’re already way over what they gave last year.”

Gary Knight, Carmack’s president and owner, said he was happy to offer the car to the agency at deeply discounted price. “The United Way has always been there for the community,” he said. “I thought this was a great way to help them out.”

In addition to the general campaign, Askren said Fred Faulstich has been overseeing the leadership portion of the drive since mid-August. Under that arm, a dozen volunteers go out and seek donations from people who have donated $500 or more a year in the past.

This fall, Askren hopes to launch a new initiative, called Women United, with the help of a group of women who give at the leadership level. Under the initiative, the group will partner with Danville schools to offer mentoring to girls in grades 7-12.

“Say there’s a single mother with eight kids ... who’s struggling,” Askren said. “We want to help the kids see that what their home life is like now doesn’t determine what their future might be. We have a lot of successful women in the area. We want (girls) to know you don’t have to leave Danville to have a good life and make a difference in your community.”

The campaign will officially run through Oct. 31, but the organization will continue to receive donations after the deadline.

Here are the local agencies receiving funds raised last year:

— Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermilion County: $30,000 for

community-based mentoring.

— Boy Scouts, Prairieland Council: $2,500 for its member impact initiative.

— Boys & Girls Club of Danville, $61,000 for education and career development.

— CASA of Vermilion & Edgar counties: $12,000 for child advocacy.

— Center for Youth and Family Solutions: $10,000 for its family counseling program.

— Children’s Dyslexia Center: $674 for tutoring.

— Community Action Program of Western Indiana: $7,000 for transporting elderly and disabled residents.

— CRIS Healthy Aging Center: $40,960 for on-site meals; $8,320 for home-delivered meals; and $14,720 for senior information services.

— Crosspoint Human Services: $7,370 for Danville Independent Living Center; $28,810 for domestic-violence program; $6,700 for infant-development program; $670 for partner-abuse program; and $23,450 for homeless program.

— Danville Family YMCA: $22,000 for Y Leaders Club.

— Girls Scouts of Central Illinois: $2,500 for leadership development outreach.

— Peer Court, Inc.: $15,000 to provide and track sentence completion.

— The Prairie Center: $10,300 for prevention-services training.

— Salvation Army of Danville: $9,200 for Feeding America Food Pantry and Koats for Kids and $3,600 each for water assistance, prescription aid and

shelter assistance.

— United Way of Danville Area: $24,589 for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and $5,411 for 2-1-1 information and referral assistance.

— Vermilion County Rape Crisis Center: $5,000 for prevention education.

— WorkSource Enterprises: About $552 for vocational training and job placement.

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