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COLUMBUS — A large portion of the 2017 Columbus Area United Way campaign has already been raised and organizers hope the strong start will lead to their goal of bringing in $875,000.

The sizable chunk of money already collected is thanks to the top giving companies to the campaign, known as Pacesetters.

The amount contributed by those 15 companies was announced Wednesday during a campaign kickoff at Platte County Agricultural Park. Those in attendance learned the Pacesetters have raised $535,031.

The Pacesetter companies are Archer Daniels Midland, BD Medical, Behlen Mfg., CAMACO, Cargill Columbus, Cargill Schuyler, Columbus Community Hospital, Columbus Public Schools, First National Bank, FLEXcon Manufacturing, Nebraska Public Power District, Pillen Family Farms/DNA Genetics, Pinnacle Bank, Valmont Newmark and Vishay Intertechnology.

The Pacesetters' efforts combined with the $60,000 collected through the annual Columbus Area United Way Lazy River Duck Run leaves about $340,000 left to reach this year's goal.

Donations collected through the campaign help support service agencies that provide assistance for residents of Columbus and surrounding communities.

“With the money we’re raising for this year’s campaign, it’s really changing the game for people in Columbus,” said Joe Steffensmeier, campaign drive chairman.

The agencies supported by the local United Way are Arc of Platte County, Boy Scouts, Big Pals-Little Pals, CASA Connection, Center for Survivors, Columbus Area Transit, Columbus Family YMCA, Emergency Relief, Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska, Platte County Food Pantry, Platte Valley Literacy, Student Health, TeamMates and Youth for Christ.

Last year's campaign netted more than $882,000.

A community celebration set to the theme of "Change the Game" is scheduled for Nov. 28 to mark the end of the campaign.


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