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United Way nears $2.4 million goal

(Week of March 31, 2011)

Inching forward, United Way (UW) of Indian River County has collected “another $10,000 to $12,000” this past week with “more coming in,” and now is in sight of its $2.4 million goal, according to UW CEO Michael Kint.

Organizers had hoped to achieve new heights with the 2010-2011 campaign, and while the United Way already has surpassed last year’s total, supporters learned at a recent thank you event that the campaign was just short of its goal – receiving as of that evening a total of $2,354,471.

However, Kint and others said UW now was confident of additional contributions prior to actually making this year’s awards to partner agencies, and campaign co-chair Michael Kmetz said “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 a four.” 

Supporters and agency representatives gathered at Piper Aircraft last week for the campaign landing and annual meeting.  The campaign was co-chaired by Kmetz and Melissa Medlock, both with Kmetz, Nuttall, Elwell, and Graham PLLC on Ocean Drive.

“There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that nobody knows about,” said Medlock, noting weekly meetings with United Way staff during 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.” 

Kint 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.

In 2000, the Ralph T. King Award was established, recognizing extraordinary service to UW. The award this year was given to supporter and volunteer Bill Penney, president and CEO of Marine Bank and Trust. 
“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.