SCUFFY beats drive goal, raises $878,000
“Look at what is possible when we put our minds and hearts and souls together, and look at how it benefited the community!”
$878,711.79. That’s what’s possible.
SCUFFY exceeded its 2021 drive goal by more than $18,000, Executive Director Alecia Gross revealed during the End of Drive Dinner Wednesday evening at the Indiana Grand Clubhouse.
“It has been a long strange voyage the past year and a half, and everything has been very different than what we have expected or anticipated, so it feels nice to finally be together as a group and to celebrate our accomplishments, to celebrate our agencies and all of the things they do for our community, and to give thanks to our donors, who make this possible,” Gross said, marking the end of the 67th annual SCUFFY Drive.
Tables of members of SCUFFY’s board and the 12 agencies it supports – Project Clothes For Kids, Girls Inc, the Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Head Start, the Cancer Association, Meals on Wheels, Shelby Senior Services, The Salvation Army, USO of Indiana, and Turning Point – ate Clubhouse beef and chicken while Gross highlighted how SCUFFY persevered during the last year and a half.
“We lost our beloved director, Angie,” Gross said. “She had given her all to SCUFFY, and then out of the blue, she was gone, and we are still grieving her loss. Then we hardly had our chance to catch our breath from losing Angie, and we got shot into this surreal experience of COVID-19, being in the midst of a pandemic, having things shut down and being unsure what life was going to be like.”
“Last year was filled with losses,” she continued. “Our agencies had all kinds of challenges with lost revenues and low attendance, and challenges that were unlike anything they had anticipated. Our agencies, they rocked it. I’ve never been so proud of a group of people than I was when I would sit in our Board of Agencies meetings and hear how day in and day out, every single one of our execs was finding a way through.”
Gross highlighted how Girls Inc tried to help every girl, how the Boys and Girls Club provided a safe space for students, and Girl and Boy Scouts adapted to virtual gatherings.
“When we look at these totals here in a little bit, I want you to keep in mind that in the midst of all of this, we have been survivors,” Gross said. “Because that is who we are as a community.”
SCUFFY Board President Eric Glasco, after thanking the event sponsors, took a second to recognize another thing the United Fund does every year.
“We have our agencies, one of the main things we do is help fund those agencies throughout the year, but we also offer Safe Grants to them,” Glasco said. “Safe Grants are additional opportunities for them to start new programs. They can apply for these grant dollars to get help to get things rolling and hopefully grow each of our agencies.”
SCUFFY gave out $25,000 in Safe Grants to the agencies, he said.
Glaco then introduced Drive Chair Drew Little: “He has made Shelbyville his adopted home. He gives back and cares about the community, and I think that shows through his involvement on the Board of Directors and also agreeing, being forced, whatever it was, to being the drive chair.”
Little gave props to last year’s Drive Chair Kyle Beaty, who didn’t get an End of Drive Dinner celebration because of Covid.
“I learned from Kyle under the most bizarre of circumstances how to be the Drive Chair for what this became,” Little said. “I don’t know if I could’ve seen someone handle it in stride better, roll with the punches, really just go ‘hey, figure it out.’”
Little expressed how when they were planning the drive, some planners were concerned about the drive because they didn’t know what would happen. But he never felt that way.
“The whole community just kind of came together, supported first and asked questions later,” he said.
He told TSN after the dinner that he never had any doubt they would make the goal, but was relieved nonetheless when they did.
Drive Co-Chair Ricca Macklin – who will be next year’s drive chair, as tradition states – said the annual Roadblock fundraiser was successful.
“We actually beat our normal goal, so we broke that record, and we raised $3763.20,” she said. “We want to thank the Rotary Club for having their roadblock out at the Lee Boulevard and Progress Parkway intersection and also special thanks to all our volunteers.”
Macklin also thanked Giant FM for holding the Voice of SCUFFY, which recruits county students to record promotional advertisements for the united fund.
Gross re-took the stage to discuss the annual Art Contest. Coulston fifth grader Marianna Abundiz Hernandez won the contest with a picture highlighting the agencies SCUFFY serves. She received a bicycle and her work was featured on the placemats for the dinner.
Gross also gave props to Dee Bonner, who designed the SCUFFY logo.
Then Little and Macklin got into the drive totals. The goal was $860,000, which they exceeded.
The Pacesetters started off the drive with a total of $166,401.20.
The Shelby County Government brought in $15,283.53.
For the retail category, the Sandman Brothers and Indiana Grand Racing and Casino were top contributors. The total for this category was not announced, however Indiana Grand donated $40,000 earlier this week, according to a press release.
City and County contributors – ”anyone that does not give through their place of employment,” Macklin explained – raised $62,376.60.
For education, Coulston Elementary was the top contributor, and Hendricks Elementary received outstanding recognition.
Under the professional category, Major Health Partners was the largest contributor. McNeely Law LLP received outstanding recognition. This category raised a total of $100,303.32.
For the service division, donors raised $181,203.98. The largest contributor was Beaty Construction C-Tech, and Runnebohm Construction received outstanding recognition.
The Industry Labor category raised $353,268.34. Knauf Insulation was the top contributor (raising $100,718.72 alone), and Brazeway received outstanding recognition.
To a standing ovation and beaming SCUFFY member smiles, the grand total was revealed: $878,711.79.
Gross closing remarks praised and thanked the community for donating.
“I’m just going to take a moment, because I don’t know if we always quite get what this number, this $878,711.79 means to us as a community,” Gross said. “This community has been through some rough times this past year and a half. But there have been some amazing things this last year and a half. … We have had new members come into our SCUFFY family. We have also been able to raise this money as a community in the face of so many unknowns.”
Macklin said she was blown away by the total.
“I know for me, it was super encouraging to see that number and be like ‘okay, I did do this and I can do this next year’ [as Drive Chair],” she said.
Macklin said Little wouldn’t admit this, but his efforts with Knauf’s drive was what sent the total way over the goal.
Little, who serves as Knauf’s Talent Acquisition Manager, said Knauf’s drive was more than they thought.
“It’s a microcosm of what we see in Shelby County,” he said. “Individuals really hop in and help, and I want to say do the right thing, but it’s more than that. They saw all this need, they saw all this craziness going on, people really did hop in and help and ask why later. … When you have that type of mentality in an entire community, you end up $18,000-plus over. Everyone will talk about Knauf’s number, and it’s a fantastic number, there’s also 700,000-plus more reasons that Knauf wasn’t a part of.”
Macklin said the bar gets set higher for next year: “If it goes to a million, Drew is going to have to come back and help.”
“We want to continue to help the agencies because they do good work, and everyone will be behind Ricca next year,” Drew added. “We have a fantastic individual set up ready to take it over.”
Gross’ initial reaction is simply blown away.
“We thought this year was going to be more difficult than last year because so many companies, so many families were still trying to recover, and we were really surprised all of our faithful donors were right there with us,” Gross said.
“Up until two weeks ago, I wasn’t positive we were going to pull through,” she said. “I kept running the numbers every day and I thought, ‘Man, we’re going to be short about $10-20 thousand.’ … By Friday things started to fall in place, and by Monday afternoon I thought, ‘I think we are going to hit this.’ And then today, the number of extra donations that came in, [we] shook our heads and looked at each other, and said everybody came through again.”
She took Thursday off to spend with her husband – a well-deserved reward for a successful drive.