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Sue Guinn Legg

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UPDATE: United Way surpasses campaign fundraising goal

January 31st, 2014 8:52 am by Sue Guinn Legg

UPDATE: United Way surpasses campaign fundraising goal

United Way officials and volunteers celebrate Thursday. With the help of a deadline extension and several generous donations, the organization's fundraising goal for its annual campaign was met.

The United Way of Washington county has surpassed its $1.7 million 2013 campaign goal by more than $7,000.

After a busy week of last-hour appeals that brought in gifts of up to $5,000 from several area businesses and community leaders, the campaign was $4,000 short of its goal Wednesday when a $10,000 personal contribution from Alan Levine, the new CEO of Mountain States Health Alliance, and his wife, Laura, put the 2013 drive over the top.

United Way board members and directors of several of the 17 local health and human service agencies supported by the annual drive joined Campaign Chairman Eric Horvath for a celebratory announcement of the campaign’s success Thursday morning at the United Way office.

“The only thing that’s left for me to say is ‘thank you.’ I couldn’t be happier about how the community has responded to this campaign,” Horvath said.

“This is a great day for the agencies, families and individuals supported by this United Way. Seeing what this community can do when it rallies around a cause highlights what a first-class community we live in.”

Horvath said he learned the Levines’ gift and those of a few others had put the campaign over its goal Wednesday afternoon, and Wednesday evening, when the temperature outside dipped to near zero, he “could only think of the people at the Salvation Army shelter and what the Salvation Army will be able to do” because of the campaign’s success.

“So many people put so much hard work into it. ... It was an unbelievable, rewarding, challenging experience. It’s a relief that it’s done. It’s nice to be there,” Horvath said.
United Way Board Chairwoman Becky Hilbert expressed appreciation for every donation.

“Regardless of how large or how small, every single contribution made this possible. Every monetary and personal commitment made a difference. ... It was a collective effort,” she said.

United Way CEO Lester Lattany said, “For me, this campaign result was about leadership, leaders coming together saying ‘this is something important to our community.’ And Alan and Laura coming together and doing what they did says a lot about what their leadership will be in this community.

“What it means is now children, seniors and adults who may be in crisis are going to get help they need,” Lattany said.

With final reports still pending from several of its 12 divisions, the campaign had gathered total pledges of $1,707,654.22 on Thursday and is set to officially close out at midnight tonight.

Lattany said all donations received after the deadline will go into the 2014 drive set to get under way in August. “We’ll start again Monday morning working on the next campaign,” he said.

Originally set to close Dec. 31, the campaign was extended twice in January, initially to allow the inclusion of contributions from federal workers who were allowed to continue their in-house drives until Jan. 17 because of last year’s government shutdown. It was extended again Jan. 17, when total pledges climbed within $34,000 of the $1.7 million goal.

At that point, the United Way board deemed the campaign “too close to quit,” and reset the deadline for the end of the month.

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Earlier Report:

The United Way of Washington county has surpassed its $1.7 million campaign goal by more than $7,000.

After a busy week of last minute appeals brought in individual and corporate gifts of up to $5,000 from several area businesses and community leaders, the campaign was still $4,000 short of its goal Wednesday afternoon and set to close out on Friday when a $10,000 personal contribution from Mountain States Health Alliance’s new CEO Alan Levine and wife, Laura, put the 2013 drive over the top.

Keep checking JohnsonCityPress.com for more on this story.

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