Mercury rises for agency

United Way raises thermometer as donations continue

By Karen Colbenson

It was cold and rainy Wednesday morning, but the United Way of Mower County thermometer in Austin was going up.

In its first campaign update, United Way of Mower County announced $487,682, or 54 percent of the goal, has been raised since the September kick-off.


Acknowledging tough economic times, the campaign goal is set at $910,000 — the same as last year. United Way typically increases the goal amount each year.

"We wanted to be sensitive to the (state of the economy)," said Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt, executive director of United Way of Mower County.

In 2007, United Way exceeded the goal and raised more than $919,000.

Although donations are "coming in a little slower" this year, Lighthizer-Schmidt said, she is confident the community will reach the goal.

Many workplace campaigns, including Austin Medical Center, Austin Public Schools and Quality Pork Processors, have not yet been included in the total. Last year, QPP was recognized for raising more than $100,000, and Lighthizer-Schmidt said that campaign is bringing in even more this year.

"It looks like QPP is going to have a record year," said Lighthizer-Schmidt.

Workplace campaigns end Dec. 15.

The final amount raised will be announced in April.


The funds are used to support local programming and initiatives such as emergency medical technician training, crime victim advocacy, youth development and programming, home building, mental health counseling and employee services.

United Way hopes to increase the amount of funds granted to local agencies by 3 percent this year.

For more information, go to

United Way of Mower County

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