UNION COUNTY — The Miracle League of Union County had until this Sunday to raise $10,000 in order to qualify for a $75,000 grant from the Timken Foundation.
As of Wednesday afternoon they’d raised nearly $25,000.
Since January, the MLUC has been working to raise $350,000 for the construction of an all-inclusive ALL Star Playground at the Timken Sports Complex. The playground will be designed to enable those with disabilities and their families to enjoy activities that others take for granted.
The MLUC’s effort got a big boost when the Timken Foundation gave it a $75,000 grant. In awarding the grant, the Foundation stated that it would give the MLUC a second $75,000 grant if it could raise a matching amount by July 31.
By early July, the MLUC was still $10,000 short of the required match and so began a media campaign featuring Miracle League families telling their stories about what the playground would mean to them. Those stories, originally told on the MLUC Facebook page, were retold in The Union Times and during a radiothon on WBCU Wednesday morning.
When the radiothon began, the MLUC was still several thousand dollars short of its goal, but by the time it was over the group had met and surpassed its goal.
“We raised over $9,000 in two hours,” MLUC Executive Director Amy Austin said Thursday, attributing the success of the radiothon to the participating Miracle League families. “Some of the Miracle League families participated and told their stories on the air. We began getting phone calls from people donating money and we even had people coming in to give us money.”
Austin said that the MLUC was able to surpass its goal not only because of the generosity of the listeners to WBUC radio, but to others in the community.
“The Lions Club and the Union Community Foundation made donations and a very generous local businessman in Union wrote us a check for $10,000,” Austin said. “I want to thank them, the people who contributed during the radiothon, and everyone else who very generously supported us and helped us make and exceed our goal.”
While the MLUC has the match required to receive the second grant, Austin said its fundraising efforts are continuing to raise the balance of the funds needed to complete the project.
“With the matching funds and the grants and other funds donated and raised, we have enough to order the equipment and get it installed,” Austin said. “Our next step will be to raise the funds we need to pay for the rubberized surfacing that will be put around the equipment.”
Austin said that the MLUC’s continuing fundraising efforts will include the second annual Miss Miracle League Pageant and the Fall County Fashion Show.
To contribute to the Miracle League of Union County’s fundraising efforts call 864-466-7879, contact an MLUC board member or visit the Miracle League of Union County’s Facebook page or website at www.themiracleleagueofunioncounty.org.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.