United Way entertained almost 600 guests at Bell Auditorium on August 24 at the 2015 Campaign Kickoff. This event was presented through the generosity of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, American Family Insurance, Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Georgia Power, MAU Workforce Solutions, 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 a “Western Roundup” with guests being encouraged to join United Way in blazing a campaign trail to help raise funds for the needs of the local community. Cloggers from Rhythm and Class Dance Studio, under the direction of Mamie McAbe, were on hand to entertain guests with a lively Western medley.
Six companies were recognized for running Pacesetter Campaigns this year, campaigns which were launched prior to the Kickoff: Palmetto GBA, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Savannah River Remediation, Sam’s Club, Target, and Walmart.
Rick Evans of Serotta Maddocks Evans, CPAs and United Way’s Treasurer introduced United Way’s new Planned Giving and Endowment program, the Legacy Impact Forever (LIFE) Fund. Marc Dufour, President/CEO of Club Car and a United Way Board member spoke briefly about the importance of giving to United Way to strengthen the community and why Club Car is a huge supporter of this United Way. Over the past four years, Club Car has raised over $461,000 for United Way’s campaign through the Club Car United Way Charity Golf Classic. He shared a personal story where his family benefited from a United Way funded program near Chicago. He further announced that Club Car’s goal for 2015 is $250,000; $180,000 was raised by Club Car in the 2014 Campaign. Mr. Dufour remarked, “Do I know if we can do it? I don’t know. Can we fail? Absolutely! But, what if we come in with $225,000?” He encouraged those present to tap into possible matching corporate gifts, and he told them to tell the United Way’s story of how it helps those in need in their own community.
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 (LPs) include Doris Davis, U.S. Department of Energy; Richard Hillman, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions; Larry Laughlin, Retired; Rita Stubblefield, Retired; and Armanda Watson, U.S. Department of Energy. United Way also recognized Blanchard & Calhoun, Georgia Bank & Trust, Georgia Power, and MAU Workforce Solutions who graciously agreed to provide sponsorships for the LP program.
Scott Johnson of Columbia County Board of Commissioners and Scott Peebles of Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Co-Chairs for the 2015 United Way Campaign, addressed the audience dressed in cowboy gear. They encouraged guests to strap on their boots, saddle up their horses, and blaze a new campaign trail as they work to raise funds for the support of health and human service needs in the local community. United Way’s 2015 campaign goal was announced as $3,500,000, and the Combined Federal Campaign goal is $650,000. Scott Peebles presented the 2015 Campaign Video, “Be the ONE”, which encourages everyone to “be the one to change a life by giving, advocating, and volunteering.” Scott Johnson closed the meeting by commenting, “Your generosity is your greatest weapon against illiteracy, poverty, crisis, and so much more. Together, we can make a huge impact in our community!”