The Grant County Combined Appeal 2017 has set a higher goal for its 56th campaign year. The new goal is $185,000. The past three years, Grant County Combined Appeal met its goal. The goal for 2016 was $170,000. Four years ago, the goal was nearly $192,000, That goal was not met.
“The goal we set each year comes for the dollar amount requested from the groups and organizations that benefit from this drive,” explained co-organizer Kerry Fish. “With rising costs in the healthcare and the medical field, requests from various agencies were higher than in the past few years.”
Seventeen organizations will gain assistance from this year’s campaign. Those organizations fall into three categories – healthcare, youth, and education. “We put healthcare requests at the top of the list,” stated co-organizer Craig Wellnitz.
“We look at all the requests and make sure they fit with our overall goal,” Fish added. “Each group, along with the Pacesetters and the executive board, are all held accountable, so we take these requests seriously. We may or may not grant each request entirely, but we try to be fair and balance the needs of all.”
“Rising costs in the medical field are affecting people nationwide, but also people right here in Grant County. All the funds raised through this campaign stay within the county,” Wellnitz said.
Organizations expected to receive funds from Combined Appeal include: Grant County Child Protection Team, Grant County Heart/Diabetes Fund, Milbank Out of School Time Program (OST), Milbank Ball Diamond Association, The Salvation Army, Milbank Community Transit, NEGL Red Cross, Unity Square Recreation Programs, Inter-Lakes Community Action (ICAP), Milbank Boy Scout Troop 45, Grant County ARC, Imagination Library, Unity Square Financial Scholarship Program, Milbank Area Community Tennis Association (MACTA), Milbank Area Lions Swim Team (MALST), Milbank Area Youth Assistance Project (MAYA), and ICAP 60’s Plus Dining Program.
Donations can be earmarked for a specific program. “If you have a real passion for one of these organizations, your money can go directly to them,” Fish said.
“It will be a challenge to raise this amount this year,” Fish commented. “But we are very optimistic that we can do it. This community is such a giving community and always rises to our motto of ‘people helping people’.”
Grant County Combined Appeal conducted its small business blitz last week. Students and participants of the requesting programs went out into the community to raise awareness and to gather donations from businesses in town.
“It helps having the kids and other participants visible out in the community,” Wellnitz said. “People can see those who are directly involved with these organizations.”
Yard signs and two large signs showing the campaign’s progress were put in place this week. Throughout the rest of October and November, a push will take place by the Pacesetters businesses and the entire campaign.
The 15 Pacesetter businesses play a huge part in the campaign. “These businesses generate 75-80 percent of the overall dollar amount raised,” Fish stated. “At least one representative from each of these businesses attends the monthly meetings and is very instrumental in raising funds.”
Donations can be dropped off to Fish at The Cheese Store,or to Wellnitz at the Milbank Community Foundation office inside Unity Square. They also can be mailed to Milbank Community Foundation at 904 East 4th Avenue, Milbank, SD, 57252.
“This campaign, year after year, is a joint community effort,” Wellnitz said. “From small and large businesses to individuals, church groups, and others, this community is so giving. We are hopeful that we will reach this year’s goal.”
Photo: Kerry Fish, at right, Craig Wellnitz.