United Way of Central Oklahoma Raises $21.6 Million in 2015 Campaign

United Way of Central Oklahoma celebrated the close of its 2015 fundraising campaign Friday night with its 14th annual Snowflake Gala at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

The United Way revealed that a grand total of $21.6 million was raised through more than 350 employee workplace campaigns as well as corporate gifts and thousands of individual donations.

“This year’s campaign achieved what was most important — raising the money needed to fund the social services programming that supports the well-being of our community,” said Debby Hampton, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Oklahoma, during the presentation.

Representatives from several campaigns that contributed to the larger United Way of Central Oklahoma goal announced their totals before the grand total was revealed:

The Heart of the City campaign raised $574,054.

The State Charitable Campaign totaled $466,238.

The Combined Federal Campaign total was $2,307,333.

Additionally, the United Way of Logan County and United Way of Canadian County raised $392,015 through their campaigns.

These campaigns combined with the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s fundraising efforts to reach the grand total of $21.6 million.

Shooting for the stars

The United Way of Central Oklahoma didn’t announce a specific fundraising goal for its 2015 campaign. Instead, the organization set out to match the $21.57 million raised the previous year.

Making it to that total was a struggle this year, Hampton said, because of the hurting local economy. She credited the campaign’s success to Oklahomans’ notoriously giving spirit and the hard work of campaign co-chairmen Mike Turpen and Judy Love, two of the area’s most notable community leaders.

“From the get-go, we decided not to set an official fundraising goal, but to shoot for the stars and do everything we could to meet our agencies’ needs,” Turpen said.

It’s in tough economic times like these that central Oklahomans most need the help of United Way’s Partner Agencies, Love noted.

The funds will be dispersed to the United Way’s Partner Agencies through an in-depth allocation process.

The United Way provides critical funding to more than 119 programs at about 60 nonprofit Partner Agencies across central Oklahoma.

The United Way also announced last month plans to dedicate $1.2 million to help implement a program to aid central Oklahomans, particularly among the homeless population, who are suffering from mental health and substance abuse problems.

Honoring volunteers

With Turpen as emcee, the United Way’s annual volunteer awards ceremony preceded the Snowflake Gala. Three Oklahomans were recognized for dedicating their time and talents to helping make the mission of the United Way of Central Oklahoma successful:

David Thompson, who hosted this year’s Snowflake Gala, was presented with the United Way’s highest honor, the Richard H. Clements Lifetime Achievement Award.

Robert Clements was honored with the Ray Ackerman Leadership Award.

Meg Salyer received the John and Berta Faye Rex Community Builder Award.

“These volunteers are pillars of our society and have worked tirelessly toward bettering the health and human services available to those in need in central Oklahoma,” Hampton said in a news release.

“United Way is blessed with an amazing board of directors, campaign cabinet and volunteers who give of themselves with such tremendous generosity, it’s truly amazing.”

Although the 2015 campaign has ended, the United Way continues to recruit volunteers and raise funds for its community projects and partner agencies year round.