The United Way of Jasper County is making a lot of big moves under the direction of Executive Director Travis Padget. Just recently, the charity found a permanent home at 312 First Ave. W.
“We purchased this new office, basically April 1, from Carol Jones,” Padget said. “As an organization we have been really nomadic for the entirety of our history. We’ve always rented and moved every couple of years.”
The organization most recently shared office space with the Newton Chamber of Commerce. Padget said that at one point in time they even had set up shop in the basement of a bank.
“It was finally time to look at something more permanent, as a permanent investment in Jasper County,” Padget said. “One of the things we really considered for a building was something on First Avenue or along the square for visibility purposes.”
“It’s always nice to put residents in some of the empty buildings,” Padget said. “As you drive through town it’s one less empty building along the main street. I think it gives us visibility in the community for donors, our agency partners and hopefully our volunteers to know where we are located. People would always want to donate money but had to ask, where we are.”
The new location boasts three separate offices. One for Padget, one for Executive Assistant Barb Sturgeon and the third is still under consideration.
“We have some room to expand, with (possibly) having a partner agency in one of the three offices in the building,” Padget said.
Padget said currently the United Way has about 16 local partner agencies.
“We could also use it for internship space, if we decide to use interns,” Padget said. “Interns are great and they need that experience. This is a great place to do it. We have contact with 16 different agencies, volunteers and all of the different non-profits.”
In addition to the new building, the organization also welcomed four new board members into the fold in April, Carol Farver, Debb Smith, Pat Wallace, and Lynn Donahue.
Farver is the principal at Aurora Heights Elementary. Smith is the Director of Human Resources at Iowa Speedway and Director of the Iowa Speedway Foundation. Wallace is one of the owners of Wallace Family Funeral Home and Donahue is employed at Mid-Land Manufacturing in Monroe.
“I’ll go through some training with them on our policy and procedures and our history,” Padget said. “The big piece for us in looking for our new board is diversification. We like to have somebody in the different areas of business, like HR and non-profit fundraising experience.”
“We also like to have people outside from the neighboring communities as well,” Padget said. “Because we are the United Way of Jasper County, we like to have board members who represent the wider community.”
2013 is shaping up be a great year for the United Way in many ways. Padget said that their annual fundraising goal is usually around $300,000. This year he challenged the organization to raise $330,000. They wound up raising $328,225.38, which was 99.5 percent of their goal.
“I think this year should be really good, I’m excited,” Padget said. “I have been here now for a year and now it’s mine. I have more experience now, in what’s happening and hopefully can make some more improvements and see some great changes coming.”
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641)-792-3121, ext. 426, or firstname.lastname@example.org