Washington County’s United Way campaign is making record progress.
With more than $932,000 in pledges toward its $1.7-million goal, the fall fundraising drive was at 54.85 percent of the goal at its first report meeting on Thursday
“I think it’s the highest to goal we’ve ever been at first meeting,” United Way CEO Lester Lattany said of the total raised since the campaign kicked off in August.
Campaign Chairman Eric Horvath said, “We really feel good about where we are but we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Encouraging the campaign volunteers to stay on task, Horvath told the team leaders, “We all know the first million is the easiest and we can’t relax. Let’s not take it for granted. Let’s not stop because this last couple of months is where it all comes in. It’s where we have to close the gap.”
With proceeds from the campaign providing annual support for 16 key health and human service agencies in the community, Horvath said the people they impact are what the campaign is about.
“$1.7 million is only the minimum request to make this campaign a success because no matter how much we raise it will not be nearly enough meet all the need that is out there,” he said.
Key figures reported on Thursday included a 60 percent increase over last year’s contributions from AT&T, which added a $5,000 corporate gift to the total pledged by its employees to bring the company’s contribution to more than $80,000.
The campaign’s Health Services Division also delivered a healthy report, with $201,000 in contributions pledged, or more that 90 percent of division’s $210,000 goal.
The Public Division was at more than 66 percent of its $200,000 goal, reporting more than $133,000 pledged and especially strong support from Johnson City Schools.
And the Financial Division was nearing 50 percent of its $275,000 goal, with $132,000 in pledges.
After hearing the stories of two of the thousands people impacted annually by the agencies — Belle, a Girl Scout who is putting the leadership skills she’s learned to use collecting coats for people in need and helping a new Brownie troop get organized, and David, a long-time mechanic and school bus driver who became disabled and received treatment he could not afford from Keystone Dental Care — Horvath told the campaign leaders, “That’s what this campaign is all about.
“It’s about David and Belle. It’s about the agencies that are helping people and people who have been impacted. It’s about our community, our neighbors and our loved ones.”
Businesses and individuals who wish to join the United Way in support of the agencies are encouraged to call Lattany at 282-5682 or email LLattany.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations to the campaign may be made by mail to United Way of Washington County, P.O. Box 4039, Johnson City, TN 37602-4039.Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article misstated Horvath's first name.