The annual United Way of Norman campaign is really two campaigns rolled together. The early drive, or Pacesetters Division, invites local companies and various public institutions that begin and end their campaigns early. They literally set the tone for the rest of the drive.

On Friday, the rest of the fund drive kicked off. Pacesetters raised nearly $1 million of this year's $2.1 million goal. The goal-o-meter will go up around the city with a 46 percent mark.

Twenty-nine Pacesetter companies raised the money through payroll deduction pledges, outright gifts, special events and other activities. Representatives of member agencies often speak at employee meetings, outlining the process and the needs.

The Transcript's Pacesetter campaign included a cook-out, a miniature golf tournament in the building, a silent auction and a newspaper throwing contest in the alley behind our building. (One onlooker thought we were having tryouts for new carriers that day. A customer was surprised we allow employees to play golf during the workday).

Other companies held their own golf tournaments, prize drawings, casual days and awareness campaigns to let their employees know the importance of contributing their time and dollars to the 29 partner human and social service agencies that call Norman home and make our city the caring place that it is.

The drive officially ends Nov. 17 but it'll take help from all who have a stake in Norman's future. The $2.1 million goal is the largest to date for the annual drive.

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