The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

United Way kicks off fundraising drive with dinner


October 22, 2018

Steve Newman/Daily Globe

VOLUNTEERS GINA Kretzchmar, Velda Sclafani and Carolyn Carlson sold tickets at the Gogebic Range United Way dinner Sunday night at the Breakwater Restaurant. The crew reported ticket sales were "very good" and busy throughout the evening. The event is the kickoff to the local United Way fundraising drive for the year.


Ironwood - Bobbi Hautala was hammering nails into signs she made and brought her own pallets to nail the signs into. The signs were put up Sunday afternoon in advance of the annual United Way fundraising dinner held at the Breakwater Restaurant. Hautala worked to get donations and funds for the event and was hustling to bring in bags of baked goods as well as installing signage. She was working as part of the committee that organizes this event. She was bringing in the donations for desserts as part of the meal.

According to Gogebic Range United Way director Cindy Simmons, the Gogebic Range United Way works in Iron (Wis.), Gogebic and Ontonagon counties, and is an "umbrella" organization. The agency receives funds, then gives funding to a variety of charitable causes in the area. 19 different area agencies will receive gifts from the area chapter in 2019. For an organization to receive funding, they must start by making applications in the summer. The United Way makes their decisions on funding for the next year in July, then raises funds with the first gifts going to organizations in January 2019.

The United Way does not receive any government funding, but is strictly funded by donations. The organization helps those who wish to donate to reputable organizations that are meeting needs in each community. "The United Way can make sure that the money goes to people who will be good stewards of it," said Simmons. She stated that the funds raised locally largely stay locally. She estimated that 90 percent of what is raised will be distributed in the area.

The local chapter is hoping to raise $35,000 in funds this year, in spite of being in a small area. "We have a very generous donor base," said Simmons. The area has donors "from all over the country" who donate to "send their money back home" to help. The group has an annual grant process that the local board oversees to decide who gets funded and how much. According to Simmons, they sold almost 400 tickets in advance and have more walk-in tickets as well.


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