On Jan. 10 Dr. Amy Van Deuren, superintendent of the Sparta Area School District, sported the Tomah colors at the Tomah-Sparta wrestling match.
The reason? The SASD was outpaced by the Tomah Area School District in the Great Rivers United Way workplace fundraiser competition between the two districts.
Cindy Zahrte, superintendent of the TASD, said the fundraiser competition began four years ago when she approached then-SASD superintendent John Hendricks about making the fundraiser a competition between the districts. The loser of the competition wears the other district’s colors to a sporting event between the schools.
“During the month of December, employees of the Tomah and Sparta School Districts were encouraged to make a donation to the United Way,” Zahrte said. “The competition is based on the percentage of district employees who make a donation, not the amount of money raised. We encourage employees to make a donation which fits their budget—a dollar or $25 or more.”
This year the districts raised $2,138.17, with Tomah being named the winner as it reached the higher percentage of employee contributors, Zahrte said.
United Way is a great organization to raise money for, Zahrte said. She said United Way gives to many organizations throughout both school districts.
“There are many good causes throughout our community which rely on fundraising efforts. Great Rivers United Way is one such group,” she said. “Monroe County actually receives more funding from United Way than is donated to the organization by businesses/individuals/organizations in our county. Given that funding from United Way supports the Parenting Place, Families First, and the Boys & Girls Club, it aligned well with the work being done by our school districts.”
Mary Kay Wolf, executive director of Great Rivers United Way, which covers seven counties in Wisconsin, said the workplace campaigns are a common, easy practice used to raise funds.
“We ask businesses and individuals, but most often businesses, to run workplace campaigns and allow their employees to do payroll deductions and to make pledges for the year,” she said. “It’s an easy way to give by taking a small amount out of their paycheck every time.”
The funds are then used to help programs and agencies “that help those who live, breathe and work in Tomah and Sparta,” Wolf said. “It makes it fun.”
Tomah actually won twice Jan. 10. The Timberwolves prevailed over the Spartans in the wrestling dual 37-25.