MOUNT VERNON — The United Way of Knox County 2019 campaign is starting its annual kick off this week, signaling the start of approximately three months of fundraising efforts.

This year’s fundraising goal is $1,150,000, according to Executive Director Kelly Brenneman. The goals are set based on agency funding applications, the need of applicants, past fundraising and fundraising potential, Brenneman explained. Agencies go through a process of applying for funding with a write-up and with an interview that includes a scoring process to evaluate need. From there, based on the findings, applicants are fit into the total fundraising goal.

“We can’t always give everybody all the money they want,” Brenneman said, “but we try to meet their requests as much as possible.”

The 2019 fundraising goal will be split into a few different initiatives, including education, $113,550; financial stability, $220,500; and health, $409,384. Overall, 26 programs in 17 partner agencies will receive funding. United Way coordinated programs, which include the Imagination Library Free Book Program, FamilyWize, Crunch Out Obesity and Girls On the Run, just to name a few, will also receive funding.

Administrative Overhead will make up 12 percent of the funds with $138,000. The administrative overhead includes salaries, as well as the cost of fundraisers such as venue payments and catering, Brenneman explained. Typically, United Way has aimed to keep the percentage at 10 percent, but costs associated with increased fundraising efforts has made that percentage difficult to attain.

“No one got a raise,” Brenneman said. “Just like most non-profits, we work on a shoestring budget. We are proud to be able to keep our costs down low with 87 cents for every dollar going in to programming.”

United Way of Knox County currently employs three full-time employees, one part-time employee and a fourth full-time employee, a position that already existed but was open, will be filled in January.

Throughout this week, events will be going on to celebrate the campaign kick off. Today, at 5:30, p.m., United Way will participate at the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Vernon Hot Meals program.

Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., Women United will host a volunteer round up to ensure that after school programs have a full schedule of tutoring volunteers at East and Dan Emmett elementary schools. Women United will also be holding a new event at the Winter Sanctuary where volunteers will be freshening up the shelter in preparation for the winter season. To become a Woman United member call 740-397-5721.

The public is invited to the United We Lunch event Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Huntington Bank at 136 S. Main St., Mount Vernon. The lunch will be free.

Thursday, the United We Sleep event will give community leaders and members a chance to walk in the shoes of others with the Hot Meals Program at 5:30 p.m. at the Salvation Army, 206 E. Ohio Ave., followed by a sleep over at the Winter Sanctuary, 401 W. Vine St. This event, Brenneman explained, is meant to walk community members through the experience of homeless individuals living in Mount Vernon. Representatives from New Directions, Kenyon and United Way will be staying the night. This event will also give attendees a chance to learn about some of the “misconceptions” and “misinformation” surrounding the Winter Sanctuary, Brenneman said, while also drawing attention to United Way’s efforts to go beyond simply providing a warm space to sleep by funding area agencies that can help homeless individuals break the cycle and find help for their situations. Those interested in participating should RSVP by calling 740-397-5721.

The Good Afternoon Knox County! kick-off luncheon will be held Friday, at 11:30 a.m., in Foster Hall at MVNU’s Ariel Arena Friday. A free lunch will be served marking the official start to the 2018 campaign. RSVP’s can be sent to or by calling 740-397-5721. Also Friday, at 5 p.m., Stein Brewing Co., will be opening its taproom doors on 10 W. Vine St., for a craft beer tasting and guest bartender competition at United We Brew.

The campaign will wrap up with the end of 2018, Brenneman explained, and the first checks will be sent out to agencies in January. Donations can be made now by going online to


Callan Pugh: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews




Rules: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don’t attack other commenters personally and keep your language decent. If a comment violates our comments standards, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member.