United Way Of Mahaska County Celebrates 50 Years Of Service

Staff and guests celebrated 50 years of United Way in Mahaska County.

Staff and guests celebrated 50 years of United Way in Mahaska County.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Many changes have taken place at United Way of Mahaska County over the past 50 years, and Wednesday afternoon the staff and community members joined together to celebrate its years of service to the community.

The United Way of Mahaska County got its start back in 1963, originally known as United Community Services, or sometimes also known as United Community Chests, but served nearly the same function as today’s United Way. The program, even from the beginning, was a way for people and businesses to give back to the community. United Community Services would then work with what are now known as non-profits to help as many people as they could.

The board of directors for United Community Services chose in 1994 to become a part of the United Way program. The support of the United Way program was a large part of that decision.

Brianne Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the United Way of Mahaska County, shared how over the years the organization has grown. Fundraising for the local non-profits is only one measure of the impact United Way has on the community, where, in it’s earliest years $51,400.00 was raised. This years most recent fundraising drive brought in $432,000.00 for those community services.

Showing the continued growth of United Way locally, that initial 54 thousand dollars would now equal $380,336.00 if adjusted for inflation from 1963 to 2012.

“We’ve really had a great progression. In being able to give money back to the community is really what we are celebrating today… It’s what we have done as a whole in 50 years to support our community,” Fitzgerald said.

The celebration was one of Fitzgerald’s last events at United Way of Mahaska County, as she will be joining the staff at United Way of Central Iowa in March. Fitzgerald will become a corporate relations manager with that organization. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, and it’s going to be a great opportunity, just for me personally, to continue on my path with United Way… from starting in Muscatine, here and then going to Des Moines.” Fitzgerald said of her impending move.

Those seeking the job of executive director had until February 20, 2013 to apply for the position. Fitzgerald says that the plan is to have a new executive director in place by April. “We hope to find someone who can continue the work that we’ve been doing.” says Fitzgerald.

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