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United Way officials announced that the 2020 United Way Community Campaign raised $495,104 — 99 percent of its $500,000 goal — according to a release.

According to officials, 26 workplace campaigns earned a Spirit award for raising a minimum five percent increase in their contributions.

Leroy Cabral, United Way executive director, said 31 small businesses and corporations joined the Community Pillars program by also donating a minimum gift of $1,000.

“Given all that our community has endured during this COVID -19 pandemic, it’s always great to see our local citizens come together like this to care and support one another,” said campaign chairman Lauren Jespersen.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented many fundraising challenges to both United Way and many of its supported agencies according to Dennis Winn, 2020 United Way president.

In addition to the $495,104 raised in the community campaign, Winn noted organization also raised $48,325 in a special COVID-19 relief campaign between April and July. Those funds were disbursed to provide immediate financial assistance to ten United Way agencies,

In other news for the United Way of the Klamath Basin, a virtual annual meeting Jan. 26 announced special awards and introduced its 2021 board officers.

Award recipients included Juan Maldonado, Klamath Falls Toyota general manager, who was recognized as the campaign volunteer of the year. Jeff Bullock, Klamath County Schools curriculum director, received the campaign inspiration award. Marla Edge received the Award of Excellence for lifetime achievement. Edge has served on the United Way board of directors for the past 29 years.

Lauren Jespersen, foundation director for Sky Lakes Medical Center, was also introduced as the 2021 United Way board president. Jespersen has served on the United Way board for the past five years in various capacities including most recently as campaign chairman.

He is a graduate of Stanford University and holds an MBA degree from Oregon State University. You may also contact United Way at (541) 882-5558, or view its web site at