‘Putting we before me’United Way sets $910,000 goal

By Karen Colbenson

Acknowledging the tough economic times for many, United Way of Mower County says 2008 campaign goal will be $910,000, the same as last year.

The announcement was made during the campaign kick-off party Thursday at the Austin Public Library. Representatives from local businesses, United Way board members and several community members attended the event.

Although United Way typically increases its goal amount each year, this year’s goal remains the same as the 2007 campaign. The 2007 campaign surpassed its goal and raised more than $915,000.


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

Lighthizer-Schmidt added that she is confident the community can meet the goal again this year.

Money raised is used to fund 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 also launched a new community message: Live United.

"We’re not just about raising money," said Lighthizer-Schmidt. "It’s about putting the ‘we’ before the ‘me.’ It’s designed to make you think, ‘How do I live united?’"

According to Chris Grev, marketing specialist for United Way of Mower County, the message is intended to expand the community’s focus on education, income and heath.

"Those are the basic things we all need for a good life," said Lighthizer-Schmidt. "It’s about advancing the common good for all of us. We’re impacting everyone."

Many local residents will soon be seen on billboards, posters and other local advertisements advocating the ‘Live United’ message, officials said.


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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