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United Way kicks off 2008 campaign

‘Poker’ tourney will aid undraising

October 18, 2007
By JESSE HELLING, Messenger staff writer
Poker and social responsibility do not often go hand-in-hand.

But tonight the two will join forces to raise funds for the United Way and Community Foundation of Northwest Iowa.

Kicking off the 2008 United Way campaign tonight, area residents are invited to go ‘‘all in’’ for the organization in a ‘‘Texas Hold’em and Help’em tournament,’’ a variation on the popular poker game.

Players will receive playing chips in exchange for a donation to the United Way. Tournament winners will receive gift certificates to the Willow Ridge Golf Club and Restaurant — where festivities will be held.

‘‘Fundraising is just a means to an end,’’ said Laurie Hagey, executive director of the United Way and Community Foundation of Northwest Iowa. ‘‘We’re working to advance the common good by affecting long-lasting change in the quality of life for our community.’’

Last year’s United Way campaign raised approximately $414,000 from the community, Hagey said.

No fundraising target goal has been set this year, she said.

Once received, the funds donated by community members are divided among a number of programs and agencies.

Some of the funded programs are administered by the United Way, while some are run by organizations that partner with the United Way, Hagey said.

‘‘We invite any human service agency to apply for funds if they have a program that meets our community’s priorities and can show measurable results,’’ she said.

Agencies and programs can petition for United Way funds, with applications being judged by the United Way’s investment committee, Hagey said.

Funding recommendations are generally made in February, she said.

‘‘We provided about $250,000 to community programs in 2007,’’ Hagey said.

In some cases, donors can contribute funds through their workplace, or arrange bank or credit card fund transfers to be taken periodically throughout the year. One-time donations are also welcome.

New to this year’s campaign, said Hagey, is the ‘‘Giving Card’’ program.

‘‘Fifty area merchants will offer special discounts to people who give to United Way,’’ Hagey said.

Donors will receive the card if they donate $150 – which translates to $2.88 per week, Hagey said.

Though the United Way of Greater Fort Dodge merged with the Community Foundation of Fort Dodge and North Central Iowa earlier this year, funds between the two are still directed toward different programs and agencies, Hagey said.

‘‘So far, our United Way campaign is targeted toward programs that help children grow up to become successful adults,’’ she said. ‘‘There will always be a United Way annual campaign directed toward human needs.’’

Contact Jesse Helling at (515) 573-2141 or

Article Photos

Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
‘Texas Hold’em and Help’em” is the name of the game at this year’s United Way campaign kickoff tonight. layers who make a donation to the United Way will have a chance to compete for gift certificates to Willow RIdge Golf Club and Restaurant. Laurie Hagey, executive director of the United Way and Community Foundation of Northwest Iowa, demonstrates some of the tools of the trade.

Fact Box

WHAT: Campaign Kickoff, United Way and Community Foundation of Northwest Iowa.
WHEN: Tonight; social hour runs from 5 to 6 p.m., with a Texas Hold’em tournament beginning at 6 p.m. Food and beverages will be provided.
WHERE: Willow Ridge Golf Club, 1788 Madison Ave.

Last year’s United Way community campaign raised $414,000, according to executive director Laurie Hagey.
According to the United Way’s annual report, in 2006 the organization invested $431,746 in programs designed to enhance the quality of life in the area. This includes programs created and run by the United Way, including United for Fun summer and after-school programs for children and the Wheels for Work and Wheels for Health programs designed to provide transportation for needy individuals, along with partnerships with 19 local agencies, including:
• Catholic Social Services
• Fort Dodge PROSPER Partnership
• Children and Families of Iowa
•Girl Scouts of Lakota Council
•City of Fort Dodge RSVP
• Iowa Legal Aid
• Community Day Care and Preschool Center
• Mid-America Council Boy Scouts of America
• Community and Family Resources
• Northwoods Living
•Community Health Center
• North Central Home Care
• Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center
• Upper Des Moines Opportunity
• Fort Dodge Area HIV/AIDS Coalition
• Youth Shelter Care
• Fort Dodge Community School District
• YMCA of Fort Dodge
• Fort Dodge Family YMCA



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