United Way wraps up ‘Life is Worth Giving’ campaign

  • Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:31 a.m.
Michelle Patterson, winner of the 2013 Helping Hand Award.
Michelle Patterson, winner of the 2013 Helping Hand Award.

SALISBURY — It’s been quite a year for the Rowan County United Way volunteers, supporters and staff. The 2012-2013 campaign at the last minute received a boost from an anonymous donor, making it possible to fund more than a dozen member agencies and local community grants.

“Wow, what a year,” said Board President Penny Greer-Link.


Greer-Link provided reflections of her time as president Wednesday during the annual campaign report meeting. The meeting was held Wednesday at the Hurley Family YMCA. Campaign Chair Denise Hallett also recapped the campaign and presented the agencies and organizations that benefited from the community’s contributions. Several individuals and organizations were recognized for service.

Greer-Link, who has served the United Way in a number of capacities, said her first introduction to the United Way was from longtime volunteer and supporter Ronnie Smith. She told a story, which brought laughter from the audience, about Smith’s enthusiasm for the United Way. Smith was jumping up and down on a car saying, “We’re going to meet our goal.”

“I was so impressed at how much fun people had doing things for others,” Greer-Link said.

This past year’s campaign theme was “Life is Worth Giving.” Greer-Link said when she thinks of special gifts she’s received, it’s the ones that come from the heart that spring to mind. It’s about the spirit in which the gift is given, she said.

Hallett said the community and business contributions, combined with the anonymous donor at the end, brought the campaign total to $1.8 million. Organizers went into the November finale meeting, knowing they were more than $24,000 short. In the end, the donor contributed a blank check with the amount filled in as whatever it takes to make the goal.

Since the campaign was so successful, the United Way was able to bring back its Community Initiatives Grants. They can be up to $10,000 a year and they are renewable. Many of the 11 agencies that received grants worth $51,357 had representatives at the meeting. The United Way was also able to provide grants through its Community Chest Fund, which is the memorials and honorarium program that addresses emerging needs. In 2012, three agencies received Community Chest Fund grants. The United Way’s Match Maker program matches donated items such as office items, desks and printers from a company to an agency.

Dr. Alan King was appointed president of the board of directors during the meeting. He served as the 2009-2010 campaign chair and has been a supporter of the United Way for a number of years. He’s also served as an account manager and on the campaign cabinet as a division chairman for a couple of years.

“Every person is renewed or decays. You can’t stay the same. We have to continue to renew ourselves,” King said.

Awards

Most Improved — SunTrust Bank, for the highest percentage of increase in an employee campaign.

Best New Campaign — Innospec, Inc., with its first campaign, the company raised more than $8,000 and held meetings with all employees. Out of 40 employees, 38 gave a per capita of $4,177.

Chairman’s Achievement Award — Freightliner. The criteria is involvement by the CEO, employees, improvement in the campaign and getting the United Way message out to the employees.

Best Overall Campaign — Bank of North Carolina (less than 100 employees) and F&M Bank (more than 100 employees).

Campaign Award for Excellence — BB&T (less than 100 employees) and Akzo Nobel (more than 100 employees)

Each year the United Way recognizes someone for their outstanding service with its Helping Hand Award. This year’s recipient was Michelle Patterson. Patterson served as vice president of public relations for the board of directors. She is in her third year of serving on the board, has served on the campaign cabinet and has served in other leadership capacities.

This year’s Distinguished Agency Awards were presented to the following partner agencies: Meals on Wheels of Rowan County, The Arc Rowan, YMCA, Trinity Living Center, the Salvation Army of Rowan, Boy Scouts, Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, Rowan County Rescue Squad, Rowan Vocational Opportunities, Communities in Schools of Rowan and Rowan Literacy Council.

David Setzer, executive director of the Blanche & Julian Robertson Family Foundation was presented an award for the foundation’s continuous support of the Day of Caring event. More than 700 community volunteers donated their time at more than 50 school and business sites. The Day of Caring event takes place each September following the United Way campaign kickoff.

Salisbury Police Capt. Melonie Thompson was presented an award for her work as Rowan Rotary Club president. The Rotary Club has partnered with the United Way’s Service Above Self Youth Awards. The Rotary Club assumed the financial responsibility for the program with the United Way handling the administrative role.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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