With just under two weeks left in its 2018 fundraising campaign, the United Way of Ellis County has about $56,000 to go to reach its goal.

It’s at about the same mark the campaign has been at this point in the last two years, ultimately falling just short of its goal.

The campaign in 2015 and 2016 raised $415,000, short of the $490,000 for 2015 and $450,000 in 2016. The 2017 campaign fell about $20,000 short of the $450,000 goal.

The goal for 2018 is $400,000. As of Thursday, the campaign was about at 86 percent of that amount, Executive Director Sherry Dryden said at a Hays Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event at The Press, 230 E. Eighth.

Dryden said after the event she anticipates some of the fallback might be from new federal tax laws.

The Tax Cuts of Jobs Act of 2017 doubled standard deductions, which caused some concern that taxpayers might donate less because it affects if their charitable giving is tax deductible.

“We do hope that the new tax laws are not creating some of the shortfall. We won’t know until the end of the month how this is going to turn out,” Dryden said.

She stressed the money raised through the campaign stays in Ellis County, distributed to the United Way chapter’s 15 partner agencies.

Those include agencies such as the American Red Cross, Big Brothers/Big Sister, First Call for Help, Options Domestic and Sexual Violence Services shelter house, and Hays Area Children’s Center.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the 15 partner agencies this past year have provided services to one in four people in Ellis County,” Dryden said.

The chapter also has community impact projects through the year, but Dryden said those projects are funded through grants.

“We don’t want to take away from the partner agencies at all,” she said.

Next year, the fundraising campaign will make some changes, Dryden said.

“Some of the events we’ve done have fulfilled their life span. We’ve got some new events we started last year that we’re going to be able to continue on, so we’re excited about that,” she said.

At Friday’s event, Pat Parke, CEO of Midwest Energy, presented Dryden with a check for $47,000, given by payroll donations from about half of the company’s 110 Ellis County employees.

Donations can be made through the organization’s website, liveunited.us, or by contacting them at (785) 628-8281.