The United Way of Ellis County will change its fundraising tactics slightly this year in hopes of reaching its $400,000 goal for a second straight year.

This year’s campaign will see fewer public events, said Kelly Lewis, campaign chair for the 2019 “Give Where You Live” campaign.

“We’re toning our community events down to focus on just campaign and just contact with our businesses and individuals to pick that back up instead of doing a bunch of small, different individual things,” she said Friday afternoon at the Hays Public Library.

United Way staff and board members were in the library’s Kansas Room for a brick presentation from Downtown Hays Development Corporation and the public kickoff for the annual campaign. A kickoff event was also conducted at the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce’s membership luncheon Friday.

During last year’s campaign, board and staff members found the amount of time being dedicated to public events brought in only a small amount of money, board member Phil Smith-Hanes said.

Dine-out days will still be a part of the United Way’s fundraising, however. Those will be about once a week at various restaurants from September through November, with a percentage of that day’s sales donated by the business to United Way of Ellis County.

The United Way will also participate in area parades, including Ellis and Victoria, Lewis said.

The United Way helps fund 17 partner agencies in Ellis County, said Erica Berges, United Way administrative assistant.

“We have had a couple new ones,” Berges said. “We had KVC Wheatland this year, Arc of the Central Plains for the ARC Park and Western Kansas Child Advocacy Center."

Donations to the United Way campaign can be given through the organization’s website,, through their Facebook page, or by calling 785-628-8281.

Executive director Sherry Dryden gave most of the talking time at Friday’s event to Berges, who will become interim executive director of the organization on Sept. 6. Dryden is leaving the United Way to become executive director of the American Red Cross of Central and Western Kansas.