United Fund receives $25,000 from La-Z-Boy

Seth Kinker
Neosho Daily News

The United Community Fund of Neosho Area (United Fund) received $25,000 from La-Z-Boy in Neosho on Jun. 8, as the partnership between the two continues to help local non-profit organizations.

The United Fund supports a wide variety of causes and agencies that provide services in health, education, and recreation for citizens in the Neosho area.

It also provides assistance for disaster relief, substance abuse, mental illness, family counseling, emergency aid and youth groups.

From left to right: Danny Snow (Director of Human Resources, Midwest Region), Bill Snow (Vice President, Midwest Region), Diana Messens (Treasurer, United Fund), Judy Rickman (President, United Fund), Cecelia Hay (Assistant Human Resources Manager, Neosho) and Neal Wayman (E-1 Business Lead, Supply Chain).

This year, the United Fund’s allocations are going to the Area Agency on Aging ($1,600), Boy Scouts ($1,600), CASA ($2,000), CSS-Early Learning Center ($2,800), Children’s Haven ($4,000),Children’s Mercy Hospital ($16,000), 4-H Clubs ($2,000), Girl Scouts ($1,600), Lafayette House ($9,600), Newton County Cancer Fund ($500), Red Cross ($8,000), Salvation Army ($2,400), Special Olympics ($1,920), Student Assistance Fund ($640), YMCA ($1,200), Office Expenses ($14,000), and Pledge Shortage ($6,080).

This year’s goal to raise $76,000 comes from a percentage of what they’d taken in last year and $25,000 of that was taken care of on Tuesday.

“La-Z-Boy has long been a partner and donator to the United Fund,” said United Fund President Judy Rickman. “We’re very grateful.”

“Over 15 years,” added Messens. “This is from their foundation, plus on top of that, we usually get monthly donations from (their) employees.”

“It’s kind of like a family affair,” said Messens. “You know, you see these people and you know they’re getting the services. You know the people working here at La-Z-Boy recognize that need and are reaching a handout to help them.”

“La-Z-Boy’s foundation has been supportive of the United Fund, not only our foundation, but our employees too,” said Billy Snow, Vice President of La-Z-Boy Midwest Region. “Employees do a commitment annually from their payroll to help the United Fund in addition to them being a big supporter in helping us give back.”

Snow said that each year, they sit down and look at all the requests from the community and where they can make the most impact.

It’s been a symbiotic relationship for the United Fund and furniture maker in Neosho.

“It means a lot,” said Snow of the partnership between the United Fund and La-Z-Boy. “It makes me proud to work for an organization that wants to give back to the community. And for the community to give back to La-Z-Boy with employees, we’ve always had a commitment to give back where we work and serve and were able to do that through our foundation (with the United Fund).”

The United Fund in 1957 by a group of businesspeople in Neosho who were tired of people knocking on their door asking for donations. The United Fund has grown since then and is still giving back in 2021.

“The most important thing I don’t think people realize when they say they’re giving to the United Fund, it’s different because it stays in our community,” said Rickman on Jun. 8 at the check presentation.  “The money we raise stays local.”

United Fund Treasurer Diana Messens and President Judy Rickman with their check from La-Z-Boy on Jun. 8.

“We look at each agency,” said United Fund Treasurer Diana Messens. “They come in with a wish list, ‘this is what we’d like to have,’ and then we look at how many people they serve. We look at how many other resources they have.”

“In June, each of those agencies on there comes once a year before their board and show how they spent our money,” added Messens. “They bring us information on their financial audits, so we make sure they’re a sound nonprofit. Our board gets together, and we look at what we brought in the previous year and the current economic conditions and we set our budget. We give them four allocations, quarterly, to the agencies. We try and give every dime we have at that point and we’ve been very fortunate in the last few years, we’ve (given) about 75% (of our allocation).”

The United Fund needs your support to help these agencies. Individuals and businesses can make contributions to the United Fund at PO Box 412 or 212 S.Washington Street in Neosho. The United Fund can be contacted at naucfo@gmail.com or 417-451-2125.