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Pioneer Editorial: United Way campaign is off to a flying start

This week's kickoff to the United Way of Bemidji Area's 25th annual campaign has been a rousing success. Between the pillar and pacesetter drives, the Chili Cook-Off and the Business Blitz, more than $188,000 has been raised. That puts the campaign at 45 percent of its $420,000 goal.

Ninety-ning percent of the investments made to the United Way of Bemidji Area directly impact the lives of the people in the Bemidji community.

Still to come are internal campaigns at various businesses in the community and additional donations from individuals. You'll start noticing announcements of brat feeds, special lunches, games and other events put on by organizations and businesses in pursuit of their campaign goals.

Thursday's business radio blitz was conducted by a team of more than 65 volunteers. It garnered support from 160 firms (20 of them new to the United Way campaign) with pledges of almost $27,000.

Thanks to the 2011 Pacesetter businesses:?Beltrami Electric Cooperative, First National Bank Bemidji, JCPenney, North Country Business Products, Sanford Bemidji Medical Center and Sanford Bemidji Clinic, Potlatch, RiverWood Bank, Target and United Parcel Service.

Businesses that made pledges to the United Way prior to the blitz and during the blitz were recognized live on the radio by Johnny Lee Walker and Jean Baer, campaign co-chairs, and Ashli Bowen, United Way executive director.

We acknowledge the difficult economy and the financial struggles of many in the community, but we urge those who can to help Bemidji reach for its goal so we can indeed Live United.