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United Way of the CSRA Kicks-Off 75th Anniversary Celebration

AUGUSTA, GA – A sold-out crowd of more than 650 local business leaders and community volunteers attended United Way of the CSRA’s Annual Meeting on February 22, 2011, at the Augusta Marriott Hotel and Suites.  The meeting wrapped up over a six month-long campaign effort to raise money for locally funded health and human service programs.  In a suspenseful, drum-roll moment, United Way volunteers took to the stage, each revealing a number, and announced to the audience that $4,128,208. was generously donated by the community.  

The event was presented through the generosity of several local corporate sponsors:  Premiere Sponsor:  Savannah River Nuclear Solutions; Presidential Sponsors: AT&T and Procter & Gamble Manufacturing Company; Executive Sponsors: ADP, Comcast, Georgia Power, MCGHealth, Southern Nuclear Operating Company, and University Health Care System. 

Stan Shepherd, Regional Manager for AT&T and United Way’s 2010 Campaign Chair, acknowledged the remarkable accomplishment stating that, “We’ve seen great successes and yes, a few challenges, but overall this has been a tremendous year”.  He also commented that the “best part” about raising such an impressive amount of money, is that “those funds will be invested in programs to inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow in the CSRA”.  He went on to thank the countless volunteers and donors who helped to make the campaign such a success. 

Hosted by WAGT NBC 26 personalities Liz Hill and Jay Jefferies, the event was one of a kind in the organizations history of annual meetings. Serving as the official kickoff of United Way’s year-long celebration of providing 75 years of service to the local community, participants were invited to step in back in time and wear vintage clothing reminiscent of the past decades.  Don MacNeil of Windsor Jewelers narrated a trip down memory lane that took the audience through the change of times from the 1930’s up to the present date.  Show-stopping entertainment provided by Augusta West Performing Company, Augusta Mini Theater, Harmony River Chorus and Jeff Barnes Entertainment brought the likes and sounds of Elvis, James Brown, John Travolta and Michael Jackson to the cheers and delight of the crowd.  A rousing conclusion complete with upbeat music and sunglass-wearing performers touted that “the future’s so bright you gotta wear shades”.  

In other event news, United Way chose the Annual Meeting to present several key awards:

The 2010 Alvin W. Vogtle Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Tim McGill of Georgia Power. Russ Dedrickson, Plant Manager of Southern Nuclear Operating Company – Plant Vogtle, presented the award along with a check for $2,000 to be donated to a charity of choice.  Mr. McGill, who was nominated by America Red Cross of Augusta, is a longstanding community volunteer who has served in numerous civic, community and philanthropic roles in the area.
The 2010 Hospital Competition Award was presented by United Way Campaign Chair, Stan Shepherd, to University Health Care System.  The award is based on total per capita giving inclusive of the corporate gift. Participants in this year’s competition included Doctors Hospital, MCGHealth, and University Health Care System.

The 2010 Spirit of Community Award, which is given to the company hosting the most comprehensive, creative, and innovative United Way campaign, was presented to Atlanta Gas Light Company.  Atlanta Gas Light was chosen because of their continuous support from employees and management as well as running a model campaign.

The Award of Excellence was presented to Savannah River Site who continues to keep community forefront, inspite of the changes they have experienced.  This year, the employees of SRS raised nearly $2.1 million, to include a corporate contribution of $200,000 for local United Ways.  The commitment SRS holds for United Way and the community is truly outstanding.