Norfolk Area United Way

After two years in a row of leading the Norfolk Area United Way to victory, co-chairs Chase Pflueger and Austen Hagood are ready to help fundraisers meet their goals once again.

And decked out in this year’s theme — 1980s wrestling — they’re ready to “wrestle poverty to the ground.” This year’s campaign goal is $500,000.

“We beat the goal for the last two years, decided to bump it up again,” Hagood said. “We should have no problem exceeding again.”

The 2019 campaign ended with $452,000 raised, with 99% of funds staying in the Norfolk area. Pflueger said community members’ attitude toward improving the region makes this possible.

“It’s a … constant tenacity on making Norfolk a better place,” he said. “We’re all about changing the very foundations and systems in a way that leave everybody better off.”

More than 300 volunteers come together every year to raise funds for the United Way partner agencies. This year there are 23 agencies — meeting needs including education, health and essentials — that collectively serve about 40,000 community members, according to a campaign pamphlet.

The Norfolk Area United Way has been around since 1965, when it was established as the Norfolk United Fund. It was a federated campaign organization formed to bring together fundraising efforts of six charitable agencies. It raised $50,000 in its first year, according to a campaign fact sheet.

Hagood attributes the campaigns’ successes to community support.

“A healthy portion of this town believes just a few dollars is a meal to somebody else, keeping it an even playing field no matter what your finances or health is at home,” he said.

The pacesetter division starts this week, with the general campaign kickoff on Sept. 16 and wrap-up meeting Nov. 4.

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