The Barry-Lawrence Area United Fund has started its annual fund drive to raise money to support children and youth programs in the two-county area.
For more than 40 years, the United Fund has supported programs that offer expanded opportunities for young people. Local businesses are being contacted to enroll employees in a minimal payroll deduction program.
"We are hopeful that this year the United Fund will end a steep four-year decline in contributions," said Ken Dudzik, United Fund board chairman. "Donations have dropped steadily from $52,000 in 2007 to $28,000 this past year.
"As a result, funds awarded have been reduced accordingly and a few worthwhile organizations could not even be funded," Dudzik said.
Programs underwritten in part by the United Fund during the past year were: Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Red Ribbon Week, 10 Barry-Lawrence Head Starts, Monett High School Project Graduation; the Monett Community Kitchen, the Monett Area YMCA;
Oakview State School; Pregnancy Care Center; The Den youth center; Linn Thornton's community Christmas dinner in Monett; Pierce City High School Project Graduation; the 4H Robotics Team;
Monett Youth Baseball and Softball League; the Ozark Festival Orchestra's Young Artists program; youth bowling; youth wrestling; Mighty Mite football; and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
"The United Fund is financially efficient as its only expenses are $250 for insurance while tax preparation, fundraising materials, postage and state filing fees," Dudzik said. "While we realize that the reduction of donations was a result of the downturn in the economy, we are encouraging both contacted and unsolicited companies and individuals to help in our efforts to give a big boost to the youngsters in our region."
Businesses that supported the United Fund in the past year were Buchanan Funeral Home, EFCO, a Pella company, Fulp Cleaners, IMEC, Jack Henry and Associates, Missouri Gas Energy, Modern Variety, the Monett R-1 School District, Tyson Foods, UMB Bank and WinTech.
Eight individuals also made donations.
"We would like to thank the companies, their employees and the individuals for making a difference in the lives of many youngsters in our region," Dudzik added.
Contributions can be sent to the Barry-Lawrence Area United Fund, Lisa Balmas-UMB Bank, 500 E. Broadway, Monett MO 65708.
Forms for submitting applications for funding will be mailed to organization in early November.
Presently serving on the United Fund board are: Dudzik, Balmas, Mike Brownsberger, Judy Campbell, Linda Dohmen, Bonnie Witt-Schulte, Jane Sligar, Jack Schulz, Brad Hanson, Brenda Davis, Mark Nelson and Mona Workes.