Midway through its fall fundraising drive for 17 local nonprofit service agencies and programs, the United Way of Washington County has gathered just less than 50 percent of this year’s $1.725 million campaign goal.
Campaign Chair Becky Hilbert announced a total of $852,689 in contributions pledged by Washington County workers and their employers at the campaign’s first report meeting Thursday. With two months remaining to gather donations, the total puts the United Way at 49.43 percent of its goal, up more than $400,000, or 24 percent, since the campaign kicked off Aug. 26 with early contributions of $437,730.
The announcement was met with enthusiastic applause from the United Way campaign team, which has seen its efforts fall short of goal annually since 2008. “All of this is to help and to make our community better,” Hilbert said.
Rallying the team, she said, “We’re going to continue through the end of the year. This is our two-month warning, and two months will go by in two minutes.”
Campaign leaders announced several upcoming events to advance the fundraising, including a community-wide United Way roadblock planned for early November, the Mall at Johnson City’s Magical Night of Giving set for Nov. 13, a celebrity grocery bagging event at Food City stores throughout the county Nov. 22, and a benefit breakfast coming up at Fatz restaurant in the Walmart shopping center on West Market Street.
Reports from the campaign’s 12 divisions of businesses, utilities, government agencies and other employers showed the Public Division that includes East Tennessee State University and the city of Johnson City leading the drive with a total of $166,591, or 83 percent of its $200,000 division goal pledged.
David Tomita, a Public Division leader, praised ETSU for conducting a “phenomenal” campus campaign this year and applauded city employees for total pledges of more than $57,000, compared to $460 pledged by Washington County. Tomita, who also serves as a Washington County commissioner, denounced the county’s small United Way allocation as “unacceptable.”
The campaign’s Services Division, which includes Johnson City Power Board and AT&T, ran second in the fundraising with $173,600, or 68 percent of its $255,000 goal pledged, and the Residential Division, made up of retired workers, was third with total contributions of $47,887, or 63 percent of its $75,000 goal pledged.
Residential Division Leader Judy Moss told the campaign team, “Retired people are like voters. They like to be asked. So if you know of anybody, please ask them.”
With final campaign reports from several large employers including Eastman and Kennametal still out, the industrial division was at 19 percent of its $260,000 goal. The Health Services Division, with Mountain States Health Alliance’s final report still pending, was at 20 percent of its $230,000 goal, And the Financial Division was at 58 percent of its $375,000 goal, with total contributions of $218,233 pledged.
The campaign provides annual support for Adult Day Services, the ARC of Washington County, the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee, the Boys & Girls Club, Coalition for Kids, Contact Ministries, First Tennessee Human Resource Agency’s Personal Support Services, Frontier Health’s Adventure Program and Greenwood Challenge ropes course, Girls Inc., Interfaith Hospitality Network, Keystone Dental Care, the Salvation Army, the local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts councils, the Johnson City Schools Shoe Fund and the Washington County Schools Shoe and Clothing Fund and Volunteer Johnson City.
For more information about the campaign, call United Way President and CEO Lester Lattany at 282-5682 or visit www.unitedwayofwashingtoncountytn.org.