WORTHINGTON - Once again, the United Way of Nobles County has reached its campaign goal.


The organization announced Tuesday that its 2019 fundraising campaign has now netted $197,754.91, exceeding this year’s goal of $196,000. The 2019 goal represented a $1,000 increase over that of the 2018 campaign, United Way of Nobles County President Len Bakken said.


“We didn’t want to go so far in stretching the goal,” Bakken said Tuesday afternoon. “We just wanted to try and get $1,000 more than than the year prior.”


One somewhat new component to the local United Way chapter’s fundraising effort, Bakken noted, is a fundraising radio auction hosted in November on all four Radio Works stations. Additionally, he said the board began partnering with Comfort Suites on “goodie bags” that brought in money for the agency, and Bakken said that effort could include other local hotels in the future.


As usual, workers at Worthington’s largest employee played a major role in helping the United Way goal get met. JBS workers pledged $153,544 for the agency’s 2019 campaign, surpassing 2018 contributions by more than 6.2 percent. Bakken said contributions of JBS employees have increased by approximately $53,000 over those of four years ago.


Sixteen agencies will benefit from the dollars raised for the 2019 campaign, including Be the Change: Leadership on Purpose, the Active Living Implementation Committee, Junior Achievement, the Nobles County Historical Society, ACE of Southwest Minnesota, ARC of Southwest Minnesota, Worthington Area YMCA, American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Community Connectors, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Love INC, National Alliance for Mental Illness, Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, Southwest Crisis Center and Volunteers in Mercy. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is also funded by the United Way of Nobles County, with books purchased for children who reside in the county.


The United Way of Nobles County’s 15-member board hopes to continue its trend of raising increasing amounts of money for local causes each year.


“We’ve got new board members, so there are new ideas coming in and a lot of energy for trying new things,” Bakken said. “We’re also using (a promotional) video put together a couple of years ago - when we hand out packets, we give a copy of that video so people know what their money would be used for.”


Above all, Bakken - who’s in his first year as board president - said he’s gratified to see how Nobles County residents have continued to support the United Way over the years.


“It’s really nice how this community pulls together for these organizations that need this funding,” he said. “It’s really the people that give the money.”