MANKATO — Michael Kunkel said it was a relief to reach the Greater Mankato Area United Way’s 2020 campaign fundraising goal Friday.

As the campaign’s chair, the CCF Bank regional president said he didn’t want to have to tell agencies they wouldn’t get all the funding they hoped to receive.

Reaching $2.06 million means United Way will surpass its campaign goal for the fifth straight year, benefiting 55 programs offered by 36 agencies this time around.

Agencies could receive additional funding on top of what they applied for, as the campaign continues through March 31.

“Anything over and above our goal can help support their mission and continue to provide assistance,” Kunkel said.

He credited United Way CEO Barb Kaus and her team for rallying donations to reach the goal. The United Way organizes employee rallies at area businesses — The Free Press included — as one way to bring in the funds.

“The word that best explains it is ‘blessed’ that we have such a giving community and region that helps us out in making sure we can keep our community balanced and strong,” Kaus said, thanking donors from Blue Earth, Nicollet, Le Sueur and Waseca counties.

This year’s agency recipients range from the American Red Cross to Lutheran Social Service to the YWCA. New programs compared to last year include Gustavus Adolphus College’s Big Partner/Little Partner mentorship program, SMILES Center for Independent Living’s recreation program and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Community Education’s preschool program.

The United Way’s 2021 campaign will begin in August. Donors between now and March 31 can indicate whether they want their money to be put toward either campaign.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola