JEFFERSON CITY — The United Way of Central Missouri has much to be thankful for this year.

On Tuesday, it announced the results of its giving campaign. The organization raised $2,114,024, slightly surpassing its goal of $2.1 million.

Doug Otto, co-chair for the campaign, was unsure whether the organization would meet its goal because of the pandemic.

“I can say there was some self-doubt when I first started,” he said. “I didn’t tell anyone that because you just didn’t know how everyone was going to look at this year.”

Ultimately, the central Missouri community made major contributions.

“It’s something that’s pretty amazing to see,” Otto said. “All the individuals in the community coming together in these trying times the last two years.”

Ann Bax, president of the United Way of Central Missouri, said her team’s work is about passing it forward. Once the charity helps people become self-sufficient, they often become donors themselves.

Bax said that even though times are tough, the United Way is committed to serving its community.

“Those people who are the recipients, who are the people who need our help right now, we are there for them,” she said.

“I think so many of those people this year, especially, are people in the past who were able to help, and this is an unprecedented year, and many people who were able to help in the past now need help.”

The money raised by the United Way will go to 28 partner agencies in nine counties.

One of those agencies is the Special Learning Center in Jefferson City. Stephanie Johnson, executive director of the center, said she is grateful for all the donations.

“It wasn’t five or six people with big checkbooks; it was all of us that made those small contributions, through our payroll deductions, through our checks we wrote,” she said. “We collectively did this.”

More information about the United Way of Central Missouri can be found here.

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