The United Way of Ellis County is not content sitting on its laurels. With justification, the umbrella organization certainly could.

Year after year, the local United Way sets and surpasses healthy financial goals to serve adequately its 14 member agencies. Fund-raising volunteers come and go, as do board members and even executive directors -- but the commitment to assisting those in need keeps the annual campaign on track.

This year, not only is the United Way of Ellis County raising its goal again but has added two additional agencies to its roster of community services. Northwest Kansas Community Corrections and the Smoky Hill Foundation for Chemical Dependency & the Regional Prevention Center have entered the United Way family, which means both will be able to receive financial assistance to accomplish their respective critical missions.

With 16 agencies that served more than 8,000 people in Ellis County last year, it's only appropriate the UW board selected "Rising Up to the Challenge" as the slogan for this year's campaign. While early fund-raising took place at various Pacesetter companies that raised approximately one-third of the $490,000 goal, the campaign launched officially last Friday.

All dollars raised are used almost exclusively for programs and services in Ellis County. It is a cause worthy of your attention -- and your support. If you haven't been contacted yet to donate, reach out to Executive Director Jason Rauch or administrative assistant Rachel Albin at the United Way's new location inside the Hadley Center, Suite 106, or call (785) 628-8281.

Your tax-deductible gift, no matter how large or small, will help make a difference in the community. And, whether you know it or not, your gift likely will help improve the life of a friend or neighbor. More than one out of every four people in Ellis County receive services from one of these 16 member agencies:

* Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ellis County,

* Cancer Council of Ellis County,


* Catholic Charities,

* Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas,

* Hays Office of the Western Kansas Chapter of the American Red Cross,

* First Call for Help,

* Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland Sunflower Region,

* Hays Area Children's Center,

* Kansas Legal Services,

* Northwest Kansas Community Corrections,

* Options Domestic and Sexual Violence Services,

* Parents and Children Together,

* Smoky Hill Foundation for Chemical Dependency & the Regional Prevention Center,

* United Cerebal Palsy of Kansas, and

* Western Kansas Association on Concerns of the Disabled.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry