July 25, 2019–United Way of Greater Topeka thanked its donors and partners today for pledging $2,531,552.25 in the past year to support work in education, financial stability in health for the residents of the Greater Topeka area. United Way staff, volunteers and supporters attended the noon celebration announcement at Capitol Federal’s pocket park at 7th and Kansas Avenue downtown.
After a welcome from Capitol Federal’s Sarah Sanders, also a United Way board member, and an introduction from United Way President and CEO Jessica Lehnherr, Board President Becky Holmquist had the honor of revealing the community’s investment as the assembled crowd watched a countdown on the Capitol Federal building electronic marquee.
“We kicked off our campaign by asking individuals to fight for our community,” Holmquist said, “and you stepped up in this last year in remarkable ways. Through workplace campaigns, our corporate partners brought new energy and enthusiasm to their campaigns. More and more companies have begun to look at their relationship with United Way as not just fundraising, but an opportunity to educate employees about community challenges and their role in making our community a better place for everyone.”
After revealing the total, Holmquist connected the dollars pledged to the impact they can have on the community, including:
- 725 children have access to high quality preschool
- 428 students will get support through tutoring and after-school activities
- 90 adults can access financial counseling and job-training
- Tens of thousands of individuals receive access to the basic needs support they need to have a solid foundation
United Way will be sharing more about the campaign and highlighting its community partnership on September 26 when Dr. Jerry Farley, President of Washburn University, appears as the keynote speaker for United Way’s annual meeting.
Jillian Fisher, United Way Senior Director of Community Impact and Lead for the Shawnee County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR), came to the microphone after the United Way announcement with an extra celebration: the local grade-level reading coalition was just awarded its third consecutive Pacesetter award from its national parent organization, and its fourth in five years. Shawnee County was one of only 32 communities to receive the Pacesetter this year.
Each year, CGLR uses its Pacesetter Honors to highlight communities that report making measurable progress on key indicators of early school success. These communities serve as proof points and represent the “leading edge” of innovation, impact and improvement within the GLR Network, currently comprised of more than 300 communities, representing 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Alberta, Canada.