United Fund preps 2017 campaign

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Kilgore United Fund is ready to pull the trigger on another campaign sprint, inviting its leading contributors to set the pace on an $80,000 goal.

The 2017 Pacesetters Luncheon is set for 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at Meadowbrook Golf & Event Center, giving the local fundraisers a chance to sit down with the charities who use their monetary gifts to help Kilgore residents and other East Texans.

“A lot of our nonprofits count on this money dearly,” said Kilgore United Fund co-president Merlyn Holmes. In select cases, “They could not do what they do throughout the year if not for this funding.

“Each nonprofit is a little different, set up differently. These funds are not just important, they’re crucial for their operations.”

With the new Pumphouse Restaurant & Bar catering the Sept. 29 campaign kick-off, United Fund’s volunteer organizers are inviting supporters to “Picture This!” in Fall 2017: to capture the face of Kilgore now and focus on what it’s future could be as residents pitch in to a community-wide effort to help others.

Tickets for the Pacesetter Luncheon are $20 each – call Holmes at 903-736-4265 to reserve a seat.

Collecting donations then distributing them to multiple, vetted nonprofits, “It gives a lot of people the opportunity to give to one organization which allows them to be helping many organizations at the same time,” Holmes said. “It also brings our community together and helps our community understand all the different nonprofits out there and exactly what they do yearly for our city.”

After United Fund volunteers’ interviews with past beneficiaries, for this year’s drive the local fundraising campaign will support the same 11 nonprofits, all of whom assist Kilgore locals.

The charity roster includes:

• Because I Care

• Boys & Girls Club of Rusk County – Kilgore Unit

• East Texas Area Council, Boy Scouts of America

• East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

• East Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates

• East Texas Literacy Council

• East Texas Treatment Center

• Habitat for Humanity

• Helping Hands of Kilgore

• Friends of Partners in Prevention

• Parenting Resource Center

At the successful completion of 2016’s $70,000 campaign, allocations ranged from $1,000 for Friends of Partners in Prevention to $23,700 for Helping Hands. The funding amounts for the 2017 campaign won’t be set until fundraising is completed, Holmes said.

“We’re going to wait until the end of the year,” she said, “to see if we had made our goal.

“We’re looking for participation among all the United Fund beneficiaries at our fundraisers, at our kick-off, just like last year.”

In addition to plans for for Sept. 29 kick-off, United Fund’s volunteer board is supervising the steady renovation of a new charity HQ on South Martin Street (see separate story on Page 5) while crafting two Fall 2017 fundraisers.

Signing residents up for donations and commitments to the campaign, the year’s extra outreaches include a ‘Midnight on Main Street’ event (Halloween-themed) set for Thursday, Oct. 19, in the Texas Broadcasting Museum. Tickets will be $40 each, and vendor spaces can be reserved for $50 apiece.

To reserve tickets, contact Jessica Holmes at 903-987-0685. To reserve a vendor space, call Katie Sanders Smith at 903-985-0214.

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, AMBUCS of East Texas is spearheading a garage sale on United Fund’s behalf in the local fundraising group’s under-construction building at 109 S. Martin Street. To donate items for the garage sale, contact Merlyn Holmes at 903-736-4265.

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