The United Way of Fort Smith Area kicked off its 2017 fundraising campaign during a luncheon Tuesday, where it was revealed that Pacesetter companies have already raised more than $950,000.

Representatives from the companies joined United Way of Fort Smith Area officials, volunteers and various community supporters during the annual luncheon, held this year at the Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown. The meeting included presentations by United Way President Eddie Lee Herndon and 2017 Campaign Chair Sherry Sims, who was introduced during the event. Sims reminded attendees that 100 percent of donations to the United Way go back into the community.

Herndon encouraged those in attendance to continue to promote giving within their companies to help the United Way reach its $2 million goal. The Greenwood School District was recognized as Pacesetter Company of the Year for contributing $17,871 in August.

The United Way fundraising efforts are year-round, but the campaign is introduced to the community during the annual September kickoff. The Pacesetter campaign is held during August.

United Way of Fort Smith Area’s community partners can be found in Sebastian, Crawford, Franklin and Logan counties in Arkansas and in Sequoyah and LeFlore counties in Oklahoma. Partner agencies include Abilities Unlimited, Girls Inc., Harbor House, Next Step Homeless Services, Gateway House, the Center for Arkansas Legal Service, Community Dental Clinic, the Single Parent Scholarship Fund, Fountain of Youth Adult Day Care, Project Compassion and area Boys & Girls Club agencies, among others.

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