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 today 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 announced to the audience that $4,129,623 was generously donated by the community.
The event was presented through the generosity of several local corporate sponsors: Premiere Sponsor: Savannah River Nuclear Solutions; Presenting Sponsor: Southern Nuclear Operating Company; Executive Sponsors: Comcast, Georgia Power, Kendrick Paint and Body, Procter & Gamble Manufacturing Company, and University Health Care System.
Zack Daffin, United Way’s 2011 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 served as the culmination of United Way’s year-long 75th anniversary celebration. Show-stopping entertainment was provided by Equinox Jazz Band out of Savannah, Georgia, and Augusta West Performing Company. 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:
Mr. James M. Hull and his family were honored for their continuous support of this United Way over the past seven and a half decades. James M. Hull, Sr. was an original founder of the Character Chest (now United Way of the CSRA) in 1936. Mr. Hull, Sr. was the first campaign chair, and under his leadership that very first campaign raised over $41,000 for four human service agencies: The Salvation Army, The Boy Scouts, Y.W.C.A. and Y.M.C.A. Jim Hull and his family are members of the United Way Tocqueville Society, and they have played a significant role in helping to make United Way’s successes possible throughout the past 75 years.
The 2011 Alvin W. Vogtle Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Richard Bush. Cheri Collins, General Manager External Alliances – Nuclear Development, 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. Bush, who was nominated by The Salvation Army, is a longstanding community volunteer who is well known the community.
The 2011 Hospital Competition Award was presented by United Way Campaign Chair, Zack Daffin, 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, Georgia Health Sciences Health System, and University Health Care System.
The 2011 Spirit of Community Award, which is given to the company hosting the most comprehensive, creative, and innovative United Way campaign, was presented to Elanco. Elanco 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 Nuclear Solutions for their outstanding support of 11 United Way’s throughout the CSRA. Through all the changes they have experienced, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions continues to keep community in the forefront.
United Way of the CSRA has been providing health and human services in the Central Savannah River Area since 1936 and currently funds over 40 programs focused on helping youth succeed, promoting health and wellness, providing basic needs, and strengthening families and individuals.