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United Way of Butler County kickstarts fundraising campaign with tricycle race

| Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Butler County Commissioner Dale ' Fantastic Pinky' Pinkerton, clowns around as he and other tricycle racers leave the starting line, Thursday, September 19, 2013. The races were held at Baglier Buick GMC in Butler and were the kick-off event for the United Way Annual Campaign. The United Way of Butler County Board Members, or their selected athletes, took to their trikes to drum up donations and support for the campaign. Pinkerton was the selected athlete for board member Amanda Feltenberger from Butler County Human Services.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Jennifer 'Princess Roxy' Roxbury, United Way Lead Board Member from Farmers National Bank, lets out a victory yell as she breaks away from the pack to win a tricycle race, Thursday, September 19, 2013. The races were held at Baglier Buick GMC in Butler and were the kick-off event for the United Way Annual Campaign. The United Way of Butler County Board Members, or their selected athletes, took to their trikes to drum up donations and support for the campaign.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Frank 'Red Rider' Girardi breaks away as he and other tricycle racers leave the starting line, Thursday, September 19, 2013. The races were held at Baglier Buick GMC in Butler and were the kick-off event for the United Way Annual Campaign. The United Way of Butler County Board Members, or their selected athletes, took to their trikes to drum up donations and support for the campaign. Girardi was the selected athlete for board member Ben Jamieson of Northwest Savings Bank.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Butler County Commissioner Dale ' Fantastic Pinky' Pinkerton, clowns around as he and other tricycle racers cross the finish line, Thursday, September 19, 2013. The races were held at Baglier Buick GMC in Butler and were the kick-off event for the United Way Annual Campaign. The United Way of Butler County Board Members, or their selected athletes, took to their trikes to drum up donations and support for the campaign. Pinkerton was the selected athlete for board member Amanda Feltenberger from Butler County Human Services.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Dan 'Lightning Dan' Slaugenhoup crosses the finish line to become the champion tricycle racer, Thursday, September 19, 2013. The races were held at Baglier Buick GMC in Butler and were the kick-off event for the United Way Annual Campaign. The United Way of Butler County Board Members, or their selected athletes, took to their trikes to drum up donations and support for the campaign. Slaugenhoup was the selected athlete for board member Robert Hovanec from Peoples TWC.

The United Way of Butler County set a $1.65 million goal for its 2013-2014 fundraising campaign, despite coming up short of a similar amount in 2013.

“We know the potential's out there,” Executive Director Leslie Osche said. “We're determined to make it work this year. We just have not asked enough companies to step to the plate.”

Community leaders kicked off the annual campaign by racing tricycles in the parking lot of Baglier Buick GMC in Butler Township.

The organization challenged its board of directors to use the race as a vehicle to raise the first $10,000 of the campaign, and Osche said they came in on target.

“It was a great way to build some momentum,” Osche said.

The nonprofit organization in June announced that it had raised $1.48 million in its 2012-2013 campaign, $200,000 short of its $1.68 million goal. For 2011, the organization raised a record $1.7 million.

The main reason for the shortfall was a “significant corporate gift loss,” Osche said, along with the loss of a $55,000 state grant to help low-skill workers find employment.

The Butler County United Way had to cut funding to some organizations, Osche said.

Osche said the organization will seek financial support from firms in the manufacturing and energy sectors.

At the end of 2012, Osche said, XTO Energy gave the organization a $30,000 grant for educational programs to develop better relationships between schools and community groups.

“The companies are starting to come around,” Osche said.

The United Way of Butler County serves more than 10,000 people a year.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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