(BLACKHAWK REGION) – United Way Blackhawk Region is pleased to announce a $100,000 gift from Mark and Kathy Bush in support of the 2020 community campaign. The contribution is intended to support those with the greatest needs at this difficult time and inspire other donors to help the organization attain its $2.4 million fundraising goal.
“We have witnessed how valuable United Way is in our community – every day but particularly in times of crisis, and how many programs and families depend on its support,” said Kathy Bush. “With this gift, Mark and I are blessed to care for our community at a time when it’s needed most.”
The Bushes, who have been married for almost 40 years, have an abiding commitment for supporting an extensive range of nonprofits and causes. Earlier this year, the Bushes contributed $10,000 to United Way’s COVID-19 Action Fund. In 2018, the Bushes provided a major gift in support of Janesville’s downtown ARISE project. For 33 years, the Bush family owned and operated Data Dimensions, a company founded by Mark’s parents, Wally and Marge Bush. Prior to Data Dimensions, Mark and Kathy owned Home Entry Services. Since 2016, the couple’s latest venture is co-founding and jointly-operating Boomerang Home Rentals with their son, Kevin Bush.
“Everyone is looking forward to celebrating the close of 2020, but when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, the challenges our community is facing will not suddenly vanish,” Mark Bush said. “Much more work is needed to help folks recover and rebuild. That’s why we implore anyone fortunate to be in a position to give, to please join us.”
Since the September kickoff of the annual community campaign, United Way Blackhawk Region officials have acknowledged strong headwinds in 2020. The majority of donations that typically comprise the annual fundraising drive are garnered through local workplace campaigns. However, many of United Way’s 200 plus corporate partners cited hurdles to participation this year, including: workforce reductions or furloughs, employees working remotely, fatigue and angst about the future. Nearly all special events and team activities traditionally held to promote the United Way campaign were not possible due to safety precautions.
To date, $1,223,860 or 51% of the campaign goal has been pledged with numerous companies yet to report final numbers. Early results and anecdotal data indicate significant declines from 2019 giving jeopardizing attainment of the goal, yet United Way leadership has renewed hope in the power of philanthropy.
“On behalf of the board of directors, team, our nonprofit program partners, and the 88,000 vulnerable neighbors served by United-Way funded programs, I wish to thank the Bushes for leading by example,” said Al Hulick, United Way Blackhawk Region Board Chair. “Their generosity not only gets us one step closer to the goal, it opens the door for others to make meaningful contributions to the health, education and financial stability of our community.”
United Way wishes to remind donors that it’s never too late to give and that the CARES Act created a new charitable deduction that expires on December 31, 2020. This new benefit, also referred to as a universal deduction, allows for a charitable deduction of up to $300 per individual and $600 per married couple filing jointly.
“This amazing gift from Mark and Kathy Bush will help feed local families, provide shelter for those seeking safety, support children to reach their full potential, and connect people facing financial hardship with resources to stay in their homes where they can thrive,” said Mary Fanning-Penny, United Way Blackhawk Region President & CEO. “Now more than ever, we are deeply grateful for the caring power of our community.”
To learn more about United Way and make a financial gift to the 2020 community campaign, visit LiveUnitedBR.org.