FORT WALTON BEACH — Programs provided by the United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties have gotten a major funding boost.

The United Way's mission is to provide leadership and resources to those in need. By providing funding for 40 local partnering agencies, individuals and families will receive services needed. All the funds stay local and support area residents in the following categories: children, education, financial stability, disaster readiness, health and wellness.

Due to the generosity of businesses, organizations and individuals that made the campaign a great success, UW raised a total of $1,311,359.39, a 7 percent increase over the 2014 fundraising goal.

UW Campaign Chair Betty Brassell began the campaign plan of action in early spring by recruiting and meeting with local business leaders to serve as campaign division chairs.

Alan Wood, UW Pacesetter chair with with CCB Community Bank, contacted various business CEOs to help set the pace of campaign. One Pacesetter company agreed to have the workplace campaign early, and with at least a 20 percent increase from their previous campaign.

With the help of the Marketing Committee members, and Brassell's approval, a local campaign theme was chosen, "Be Someone's Hero."

Brassell said, "It has been my honor to be the Campaign Chair for 2015, and it's hard to believe it is drawing to a close. I've seen true team work at its highest level during this campaign, beginning with the division chairs and volunteers who contacted companies in the spring, way before the campaign even began, to set the stage and gain commitments for giving.

"The Loaned Executives followed up and made those presentations that preached the message of compassion and need.

"Ronda Davenport, VP of Campaign/Marketing blended all those activities together and pushed hard to make our goal. She made sure to recognize the heroes within each volunteer group and each company that participated in the campaign," Brassell said.

"We needed a lot of heroes this year – and we got them! This community is one of the best and we love a challenge! Heroes always win!"