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March 5, 2013

United Way of Cass County to honor 75 years of history of service

Gala will commemorate anniversary and the people who have contributed throughout the 75 years

Planning, preparation and weekly Friday morning meetings have led up to the 75th anniversary gala celebration for the United Way of Cass County.

The gala will commemorate the 75-year milestone as a nonprofit organization.

The Logansport Community Chest, Inc., later becoming the United Way of Cass County, was founded by 22 people July 26, 1937. Some of the founders were Glenn L. Miller, M. W. Morris, Charles Muehlhausen and Frank Sibley. Their purpose was to conduct Community Chest and other campaigns and distribute funds to organizations determined to be wise for educational, charitable, literary and other purposes. Although Community Chest became United Fund of Cass County in 1956 and United Way of Cass County in 1973, Joyce Mayhill, who has been executive director for 16 years, said the mission is similar.

“The mission and commitment remain strong and consistent,” Mayhill said. “We facilitate a community that cares for one another.”

Although the commitment has been consistent, it has evolved and expanded over the years, Mayhill said.

Today, United Way’s mission is to increase organized capacity of Cass County residents and promote education of human care services. United Way also addresses community needs through member agencies and programs.

There are three United Way member agencies today the Community Chest also had; Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and The Salvation Army.

United Way programs include a backpack program, providing food for impoverished elementary students, and they support encourage children to read through the Reading Railroad program. Money given to United Way, through contributions and pledges, goes back in to the community through programs like these.

United Way is having the gala event to commemorate not only the 75th anniversary, but the people who have contributed and volunteered with United Way over the years.

The planning for the gala to commemorate the celebration has been underway since July 2011. A group of ladies met Friday mornings leading up to the event. Joyce Ameen was one of the people who have helped plan the event.

“We’ve been trying to find United Way history people might not know,” Ameen said. “The challenge is narrowing the history down.”  

Mayhill said it has been fun looking through old scrapbooks. She said they have been sharing photos from specific decades on their Facebook page, including a Cass County “500” United Way queen, a brochure from 1974 when the campaign goal was $233,474 and photos showing chair members receiving awards in the 1980s. These photos can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/pages/United-Way-of-Cass-County/20665178983.

Mayhill also said she noticed advertisements changing for United Way over the years.

“We now have people with these smiling faces to show the result of what we’re doing,” Mayhill said. “The end result of what we’re doing is good. It is so much larger now.”

The gala to celebrate, reflect, and award is from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Angies Catering. Mayhill said they have 23 corporations coming and are expecting more than 200 people. Founders, past board presidents and campaign chairs will be recognized. There will also be a Diamond award presentation and an Arden Cramer Humanitarian Award presentation.  

Ameen said they want to remind people to stop and enjoy the moment.

“We want to tell people to enjoy the present, enjoy this moment,” Ameen said. “We want to remind people, as you can see through 75 years of United Way, time passes.”

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