Charity kicks off campaign

$4.2 million sought by United Way in 2003

By Dawn Schuett

The 2003 fund-raising campaign for the United Way of Olmsted County started this morning with a magic show.

But it will take more than magic for volunteers to raise $4.2 million for local health and human service programs, according to campaign officials.


"That's where the magic ends and the hard work begins," said Sharon Dunemann, chairwoman of the 2003 campaign. Dunemann was one of several speakers at a campaign kickoff breakfast attended by more than 250 people this morning at the Kahler Grand Hotel.

The kickoff included magic tricks with fire to make a point that a flame can increase in intensity. In a similar way, the campaign can be more successful with everyone working together, said Bruce Gudlin, chairman of the United Way Board of Directors.

The campaign needs dozens of volunteers to conduct fund-raising efforts in workplaces and hundreds of donors to achieve the goal. At least seven businesses already have launched their internal campaigns.

"Together, we can do the magic that matters in our community," Gudlin said.

The audience heard stories of families helped by programs that receive United Way funding and watched a video produced by the United Way.

The United Way focuses on investing in the community to help people in need, Gudlin said. "It's all about uniting people with resources to improve lives in our community."

Karen M. Erlenbusch, executive director of the United Way of Olmsted County, said someone is helped by United Way every 40 seconds. The need is perhaps greater this year because of overall economic difficulties and government funding cuts affecting human service programs, she said.

Pledges and donations for the campaign will be collected through Dec. 31. The money will be distributed next year.

What To Read Next
Get Local