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Mayor Nehring to chair United Way campaign

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring explains his priorities as the United Way of Snohomish County’s Campaign Chair for 2013. - Kirk Boxleitner
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring explains his priorities as the United Way of Snohomish County’s Campaign Chair for 2013.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring will be wearing another hat this year. Although he’s already a member of the United Way of Snohomish County’s Board of Directors, Nehring has been named the United Way Campaign Chair for 2013 in recognition of his commitment to the community.

“Mayor Nehring is a great ambassador for United Way,” said Dr. Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of the United Way of Snohomish County. “He is passionate about strengthening our community and bringing people together.”

“United Way has been very supportive of those in need within the county, so I saw this as a great opportunity to give back,” said Nehring, a Marysville resident for 18 years who served on the Marysville City Council from 2002-10 before being appointed to serve as mayor, in which office he was elected to serve a full term in 2011. “It strengthens our community, both throughout the county and here in Marysville, when we can help people who are going through various rough patches.”

Nehring has branded this year’s campaign with the theme of “Strength in Community,” to reflect his commitment to collaboration and cooperation at all levels of government, since he’s particularly interested in working with the leadership of 23 cities and communities throughout Snohomish County.

“I’ve gone into the schools and seen the kids who are enrolled in early learning college programs, as well as the ones who don’t have meals to eat over the weekend,” Nehring said. “I’ve seen the lines at our local food banks getting longer and longer, and I’ve heard from our county prosecutors that there are more cases of domestic violence being tried. There are so many needs in the community, and government can’t meet them all on its own, because the resources aren’t there, but in partnership with the private sector, we can work wonders.”

Nehring is concerned with supporting not only a broad base of community interests, from food banks and school programs to Cocoon House and Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County, but he also hopes to build a broad base of donors within the community.

“It’s not just about getting more revenue, but also about getting more people involved,” said Nehring, who cited his 18 years of business management experience and his own host of contacts within the community, including his time spent volunteering in local youth sports programs, with furnishing him with the skills and connections to recruit more supporters for the United Way. “The United Way staff are making this as easy as possible for me by handling a lot of the admin and scheduling my work for them around my other appointments. Of course, my family is being very understanding, and it helps that my kids are a little older now.”

According to Nehring, working with the United Way is his way of maximizing his own time, energy and resources for the benefit of as many others as possible.

“The main reason I took on this role was because I see the need where I live,” Nehring said. “If you look around, you’ll see so many worthy causes, and the United Way touches hundreds of other organizations, to address so many of those societal ills.”

In June, the United Way of Snohomish County announced $7.9 million in targeted community investments over the next three years, that will support 107 programs addressing immediate needs in 13 priority investment areas identified by volunteer-led vision councils. This represents an increase of $300,000 over the previous three-year cycle. Additional ongoing investments support a strong array of community-wide initiatives addressing long-term issues that focus on education, financial stability and survival English.

The increase in available grant money was made possible by a strong 2012 fundraising campaign, whose highlights included a $100,000 increase in employee contributions throughout Snohomish County, $570,000 raised by Premera Blue Cross and a significant increase in contributions from local labor unions.

United Way’s preliminary total revenue for 2012-13 was $10.46 million, almost $500,000 more than last year. In addition to employee and corporate contributions, other revenues include $1.8 million from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound and an $800,000 grant from The Boeing Company. United Way also received a four-year $440,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to address intergenerational poverty, and a significant gift of land to the United Way Endowment from Buzz and Carol Rodland.

The 2013 campaign is already off to a strong start, with Premera Blue Cross raising a record $606,000 in employee and corporate contributions.

Upcoming events include Volunteer Appreciation Night at the AquaSox on Aug. 19, “Days of Caring” on Sept. 13-14 and the Spirit of Snohomish County Breakfast on Sept. 25.

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