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United Way more than half-way to $1.5 million

Sue Guinn Legg • Oct 28, 2019 at 8:13 PM

Midway through its 2019 fundraising campaign, the United Way of Washington County is at 51 percent of its $1.5 million goal and a little ahead of collections at this point in last year's campaign.

The $767,789 total was announced at fundraising luncheon held last week as part of a new campaign format that appears to be paying off. 

Sponsored by BB&T, the luncheon’s focus was on all of United Way’s 22 nonprofit partner agencies who each hosted a table with centerpieces that highlighted their services.

United Way President & CEO Kristan Spears said the luncheon was a way to introduce potential new campaign givers to the services provided by the agencies and how they improve the lives of people who live and work in Washington County, with a focus on education, health and financial stability.

The keynote speaker was Lottie Ryans, director of Workforce & Literacy Initiatives at the First Tennessee Development District, who talked about her experience as a volunteer with the United Way’s Vello virtual reading program for first- through third-grade students and the importance of workforce initiatives, starting with children and continuing through adulthood.

Spear spoke about the findings of the United Way’s new Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed report that focuses on the 30 percent of Washington County residents who live just above the federal poverty level and announced that the local United Way “will come alongside the ALICE population to provide services and support to give them a hand up.”

“This 30 percent of Washington County residents are usually overlooked. ... They make too much money to qualify for services,” Spear said. “They are working hard but living paycheck to paycheck. They are one emergency room visit, flat tire, or lost job away from falling into poverty, barely making ends meet.”

Campaign Chair Jennifer Owen said, "While I am pleased to announce that we are on track with years past by being at 51 percent of our campaign goal, we still have a significant amount of money to raise for even greater needs in our community.

“I hope the mid-campaign luncheon was an inspiring but eye-opening reminder that our community needs continue to exceed the resources available. Seeing a room full of community leaders at this event gives me hope that we will rise to the occasion."

The campaign will conclude on Dec. 31 and Spear said the United Way staff will be working continuously to introduce area companies to the services of its partner agencies and how participation in the United Way campaign bolsters them all. “If anyone would like to know more, we would love to talk to them,” she said.

More information may be obtained by calling 423-220-1229, online at www.uwowc.org and on the United Way of Washington County, TN, social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.

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