Five years ago, Jim Barone moved from Cincinnati to Lincoln to accept a position at Ameritas. He immediately observed a sense of community, fell in love with the small-town feeling and established a firm resolve to give back.
As a self-described “longtime United Way guy,” Barone said it wasn’t long before Bill Mueller and Kim Robak, the husband-wife team who chaired the community campaign a few years back, introduced him to the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County and Community Health Charities campaign.
Fast-forward to today, and campaign chair Barone is at the helm of a drive that helps 64 agencies and has a $7 million goal.
Thrust into his new leadership role, the affable senior vice president in charge of group distributions at Ameritas is excited by what he’s seeing and hearing about United Way.
“The Campaign Cabinet is super-engaged, and results of the Pacesetters campaign are encouraging,” Barone said at a Sept. 6 kickoff breakfast that formally launched the public phase of the 2018 campaign.
Last year’s campaign brought in $6,748,450 – 2 percent less than the previous year’s total and shy of the $7 million goal. But campaign officials were encouraged that the total of unrestricted dollars was up 3 percent last year.
At the kickoff to the public phase of the campaign Sept. 6, Barone said he was pleased to announce that $2,896,014 has been raised through the Pacesetters campaign, which was wrapped up Aug. 24. Comprising 16 businesses and 30 agencies, the Pacesetters portion typically accounts for 40 percent of the goal and sets the tone for the campaign, said Michelle Bring, senior director of marketing and resource development at the local United Way office.
Barone paid special tribute to members of the United Way Tocqueville Society, founded in 1984 as an opportunity for passionate individuals to become deeply involved in United Way’s mission. A minimum pledge of $10,000 is required for such distinction.
The Lincoln-based campaign has 85 families in the Tocqueville Society and accounts for more than 13 percent of the campaign goal.
United Way supports 42 agencies, and Community Health Charities represents another 22 community agencies supported by the joint annual campaign.
For more details and to learn how you can get involved, see www.unitedwaylincoln.org