Local United Way kicks off $1.7 million drive at event

Sue Guinn Legg • Aug 24, 2013 at 9:21 PM

The United Way of Washington County kicked off its 2013 fall fundraising campaign Thursday with 33 percent of this year’s $1.7 million goal pledged by 47 pacesetter companies and organizations that conduct their in-house drives early to get the fundraising off to a solid start.

Campaign Chairman Eric Horvath thanked the pacesetting contributors for their cumulative $569,813 in donations for 17 area nonprofit organizations supported by the United Way and told the campaign team members that “was the easy part.”

“Those pacesetters have been doing this for years. They know what they are doing. The last $1.2 million is where we need to make our mark. That’s why all of you are here,” he said.

“Our $1.7 million goal will impact agencies throughout this community and it will impact the people the agencies support. If we mess it up, there will be kids who can’t get mentoring at Coalition for Kids. There will be people who can’t get dental care at Keystone Dental Care. There will be someone with mental disabilities who can’t get care at Adult Day Services.

“That’s what our campaign is about. It’s about the people who are getting help at the agencies. It’s about those agencies and the impact they make in this community,” Horvath said.

“The presence the agencies have in this community depends on the dollars,” Horvath said. “We can’t mess up. We can’t stall. We’ve got four months to make a difference in this community. It’s $1.7 million. Let’s go get it.”

Horvath named Mark Finucane, Steve Montano and Kim Holley to serve as the campaign’s vice-chairs.

Tim Swecker, president-elect of the United Way board of directors, encouraged the campaign team to utilize Horvath’s “Caring for Our Community” as the campaign’s theme.

Johnson City Mayor Ralph Van Brocklin presented a joint proclamation of the Johnson City Commission, the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge and the County Commission recognizing the United Way as a catalyst for the advancement of education, income and health in the community through its solicitation and careful allocation of funds for multiple nonprofit services.

And to help with the fundraising, former East Tennessee State University first lady Nancy Stanton and Valda Jones, an advocate and philanthropic supporter of multiple community service organizations, unveiled this year’s United Way print, “Memorial Fountain,” by local artist Freddie Lee Young.

A copy of Young’s rendering of the fountain built at ETSU to honor the university’s first African-American students will be available to every contributor who pledges at least $500 to the 2013 campaign.

United Way President and CEO Lester Lattany said the campaign presents the opportunity for everyone in Johnson City, Jonesborough and Washington County to recognize and contribute to vital services provided by the 17 health and human service agencies supported annually by the United Way.

“As each individual takes on the personal challenge of caring for our community, lives will be changed,” Lattany said. “Circumstances will be improved” and lasting changes will be made “right here where we live.”

In addition to Adult Day Services, Coalition for Kids and Keystone Dental Care, United Way partner agencies include the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee; ARC of Washington County; the Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County; Contact Ministries; Family Promise (Interfaith Hospitality Network) of Greater Johnson City; Frontier Health’s Adventure Program and Greenwood Challenge; the Girl Scout Council of Southern Appalachia; Girls Inc. of Johnson City/Washington County; the Johnson City Schools Shoe Fund; Personal Support Services; the Salvation Army of Johnson City; the Sequoyah Council of American Boy Scouts; the Washington County Schools Shoe and Clothing Fund; and the United Way’s Washington County office and Volunteer Center.

The campaign leaders are encouraging area employers and individuals who wish to join the United Way in support of the agencies to visit www.unitedwayofwashingtoncountytn.org or call the United Way office at 282-5682. Donations to the campaign may be made by mail to the United Way of Washington County, PO Box 4039, Johnson City, TN 37602-4039.

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