2022 Campaign Kickoff Event

The United Way of Central Kansas kicked off their upcoming campaign this past weekend, calling on guests to “Live Like a Champion, Give Like a Champion”, and it is safe to say - they rose to the occasion.

This annual event raises funds for United Ways 22 Community Partners across Barton and Pawnee counties. With over $100,000 allocated annually to these partners, every donation and pledge goes a long way. 

The sponsors of this event are the true Champions. Putting UWCK on course to raise funds for those in the community who are the most vulnerable and in need of basic services to make ends meet.   To families living in poverty, children in the foster care system, and abused women, these funds support and stay in our community. 

On behalf of the United Way Board of Directors, Staff and Community Partners; we are grateful for the generosity of the sponsors for this year’s event. 

Bronze Sponsors included Best Western Angus Inn: A&G Catering: Tatum & Tim Brooks: Carr Auction and Reality Inc: L&M Contractors; Fusion Bank of Larned; BTI, Great Bend; Country Living of Larned; Kustom Floor Design; Doll Insurance Group; A440 Music; Bike Brew Q/Fairchild’s. 

Silver Sponsors – Farmers Bank & Trust; Keller Real Estate; Brentwood Builders; Edward Jones, Jim and Todd Armatys; Marmie Auto Group; Adams Brown, LLC; Columbus Club; My Favorite Furnishings; Haynes Electric; Office Products, Inc.

Gold Sponsors – CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions;  Spectrum CPA Partners, LLC; First Kansas Bank; Concrete Services; Sutherlands; Great Bend Tribune; Eagle Communications; Bob & Carol Dema; University of Kansas Health Systems.

This annual event brings on opportunity to honor and acknowledge the “champions” for their leadership role by continuously stepping up to support UWCK. 

Dianne and Dennis Call were given the Leadership Award for 2020 for their years of service and to Dianne’s many years of volunteerism to annual Stuff the Bus project. 

Korby and Yuchen Boswell and Paul and Elise Snapp were thanked for their commitment to being Campaign Co-chairs in 2021 and again in 2022.

UWCK Board President announced the upcoming retirement of Executive Director Gaila Demel. In her 5 years with United Way, Gaila expanded Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to all of BT and PN counties, expanded Box of Love, created a new program, #Real-world, and is launching a new fundraiser, Beef 'n Brew, this October. The Board of Directors will begin searching for her successor while Gaila forges ahead through the coming months with Workplace Campaigns, Reality U, and the Beef 'n Brew.

“I’m rarely at a loss for words, but coming into my last season… so to speak… brings on bittersweet emotions that creates excitement for myself, my family and the leadership transition for United Way of Central Kansas.  It has been a privilege to work alongside community service leaders in so many aspects of local impact. I never dreamed I would have this opportunity to help develop change resources for the betterment of our neighborhoods and communities. I plan on continuing volunteering in a few areas that I’ve found a real passion for.  Having our event in-person was the perfect way to Kickoff this year and I look forward to the next few months as we bring the Workplace Campaign to our Business Partners. We are also excited to plan Reality U for 8th & 9th Graders this year.  I’m so proud of the Kickoff Sponsors and how they stepped up to help make the event successful.” Gaila Demel

“Gaila’s commitment to true partnerships in every aspect of her leadership has made her an outstanding leader for the organization and for our community.  Gaila’s guidance brought necessary innovation to the United Way of Central Kansas meeting the needs of a rapidly evolving philanthropic landscape, while also creating new opportunities for growth and expansion.   She has lead our board of directors and talented United Way staff in responding to the global pandemic while maintaining our commitment to on-going community priorities.    The Executive Board is looking for a candidate to fill this community leadership role in the next few months, as we want to identify a strong candidate to transition this position to the next successor and campaign.”   Becca Maxwell, United Way of Central Kansas Board President.