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United Way entertained almost 600 guests on August 26 at the 2013 Campaign Kickoff.  Hosted at Bell Auditorium, the Kickoff was presented through the generosity of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, American Family Insurance, Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Georgia Power, and University Health Care System.  Jennie Montgomery and Brad Means of WJBF News Channel 6 presided over the event.

This year’s themed event was revealed as “United Way Derby Day” with guests being encouraged to strive for the “Triple Crown”.  The winner will be announced in February 2014 at United Way’s Annual Meeting.  Winners of the “Triple Crown” must win in three categories:  best model campaign, highest percentage of increase in per capita giving, and greatest percentage of increase in employee participation.

Eleven companies were recognized for running Pacesetter Campaigns this year, campaigns which were launched prior to the Kickoff:  Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce; Fuller, Frost & Associates; Macy’s; Palmetto GBA; Sam’s Club; Savannah River Remediation, LLC; Senior Citizens Council of Greater Augusta and the CSRA, Georgia, Inc.; Target; United Way Board of Directors; United Way Staff; and Walmart.

Guests were treated to a Derby race with five of the Pacesetter companies contending for the prize.  The winners of the race were:  1st Place – “Gabba Gabba” (Palmetto GBA), 2nd Place – “Savvy River Rascals” (Savannah River Remediation), and 3rd Place – “Here Comes Granny” (Senior Citizens Council), with “Got Your Number” (Fuller, Frost & Associates) and “Grand Poobah” (United Way Board of Directors) coming in at 4th and 5th place.
(Pictured Left to right: Shelia Stuberfield, Trinetta Skinner, and Beverly King)
With guests dressed in Derby attire, United Way also presented awards for the “Best Derby Hat/Attire”.  Winners were announced as:  Third Place, Shelia Stuberfield from First Bank (left); Second Place, Trinetta Skinner from City of Waynesboro (center); and First Place, Beverly King from CSRA EOA (right).

Zack Daffin, United Way’s 2013 Board Chair, presented United Way Worldwide’s “Spirit of America – Summit Awards” to Bank of America, Comcast, and Wells Fargo.  This is United Way Worldwide’s highest national honor recognizing corporations and their employees for exceptional philanthropic commitment and community involvement.

Tom Blanchard, United Way’s 2013 Campaign Chair, announced United Way’s 2013 campaign goal of $4.1 million.  He challenged everyone to consider giving back and to work throughout the coming months to make this goal a reality by running their best campaign ever. Each year, United Way is fortunate to have assistance from a number of local companies who loan key employees that will work with United Way for the next 12 weeks helping to run campaigns throughout the community.  This year’s Loaned Professionals include:  Ryan Brewer; Ashley Hill Key with Southern Nuclear Operating Company; Richard Hillman with Savannah River Nuclear Solutions; Larry Laughlin, Retired; and Michele O’Shaughnessy with U.S. Department of Energy.  Georgia Bank & Trust Company graciously agreed to provide a sponsorship for the LP program.