Jefferson County United Way executive committee on Tuesday members stand in front of this year’s United Way campaign fundraiser thermometer. The campaign has met its goal of $350,000. From left: Jay Roney, drive chair, April Frieske, board president, Steve Telfer, board vice president. (Staff photo by Seth Grundhoefer/sgrundhoefer@madisoncourier.com)
Jefferson County United Way executive committee on Tuesday members stand in front of this year’s United Way campaign fundraiser thermometer. The campaign has met its goal of $350,000. From left: Jay Roney, drive chair, April Frieske, board president, Steve Telfer, board vice president. (Staff photo by Seth Grundhoefer/sgrundhoefer@madisoncourier.com)
Jefferson County United Way representatives said local companies and residents went "way beyond the call of duty" to get the organization to its goal of $350,000 for the 2013 fundraising effort.

While the drive will not officially end until Thursday, the nonprofit hit 100 percent of its goal last week after assistance from a few big contributors. Residents still may donate by sending checks to P.O. Box 193, Madison, IN 47250.

Jay Roney, this year's drive chair, said a good portion of the funding each year comes from payroll deductions, when employees agree to donate a fixed amount of their paycheck to the United Way.

During the fundraiser, Roney spent much of his time meeting with companies and touting the benefits of contributing. On Tuesday, he said he was pleased with the response.

"The community never ceases to amaze me," he said. "$350,0000 for a community this size is such a big number. It makes me proud to live here."

He said local companies such Arvin Sango and Indiana-Kentucky Electric donated heavily throughout the campaign, especially on the final leg of the drive, which officially kicked off in September.

"I don't know if I want to give a specific amount, but it was thousands of dollars," Roney said of Arvin Sango's contributions late in the fundraiser.

The United Way has now met its goal three out of the last four years. Last year, the campaign raised about $340,000, while the 2011 effort brought more than $330,000

The money collected is tax deductible and stays in the community to assist 13 different agencies: Girls Inc., Boy Scouts of America Hoosier Trails Council, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Lide White Memorial Boys & Girls Club/Family & Community Center, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, Southwestern Recreation Association, LifeTime Resources/Sentry Services, Southeastern Indiana Independent Living Center, La Casa Amiga, Turning Point, Salvation Army, American Red Cross and USO.

The success of this year's campaign relied on good community response, helpful local business and community presence from United Way representatives, said Steve Telfer, board vice president.

At IKE, managers allowed United Way supporters to visit the plant during each of the three work shifts to speak with nearly every employee.

"That's way beyond the call of duty," Telfer said.

Telfer said he often tells people that they would be hard pressed to find someone in the community that does not or has not benefited from at least one of the 13 organizations.

As an example, he cited the local Red Cross chapter's involvement in relief and assistance following the March 2 tornadoes last year.

Roney agreed. He said seeing a group in action allows donors to understand how the money is being used.

"When my wife and I give, we like to see what it does," he said.

The board will decide on a fundraising goal for the 2014 drive later this year and begin in the fall. One of the changes will be that United Way has agreed to begin supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters.