Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Kathy Chaffin
Salisbury Post
Rowan County United Way officials faced an interesting dilemma this year ó figuring out what to do with the extra money raised in the campaign.
“It’s a good problem to have,” said Outgoing President Bill Greene at Wednesday’s annual membership meeting. “You just blew through every goal line we had.”
Outgoing Campaign Chairman Guy Hoskins announced the final total. United Way volunteers raised $2,094,402, exceeding the $1,855,000 goal by $239,402.
“This is 13 percent over the goal and really exceeded all our expectations,” he said.
United Way officials had actually lowered the goal from the previous year due to the economic downturn, cutting the projected budgets of the 16 agencies by 3 percent.
It was the generous $278,643 donation by Food Lion ó which Hoskins compared to a “last-minute play” in a football game ó that took the goal over the top.
“One thing I love about this community,” Greene said, “is people step up when there’s a need.”
In addition to restoring the across-the-board budget cuts, United Way officials decided to award $1,000 each to 11 agencies identified as Agencies of Distinction. Greene said an additional $60,000 will be set aside for incentive grants up to $5,000 for agencies which meet the criteria.
Of the extra money, $82,116 will be held to use in the 2009 allocations process. Greene said another $70,000 has been earmarked for new agency admissions based on the United Way’s current needs assessment and that do not duplicate services currently offered.
When it came time to select the recipient of the 13th annual Helping Hands Award, Greene said the board had a very difficult time and joked that they even arm-wrestled at one point. But when someone suggested giving the award to the whole campaign cabinet, he said everyone was in agreement.
The 2007 Campaign Cabinet was added to the large Helping Hands plaque in the United Way office, and the 19 individual members received their own plaques.
Greene also presented a special award to Food Lion representatives Glenn Dixon, Kyna Foster and Pat Fulcher. In addition to propelling the campaign total over the goal, the company is the founding benefactor of the United Way’s Community Impact Grants, donating $250,000 in the first year.
Kim Shore, vice president of planning for the United Way, announced the nine recipients, after which representatives of four recipient agencies reviewed their programs for United Way members.
Connie Antosek, executive director of the Community Care Clinic, said its $75,000 grant will allow the clinic to serve 600 to 700 additional patients. In addition, 1,000 people will be able to receive dental care.
Chris Boylan, assistant principal at Southeast Middle School, said the $50,000 awarded to the Nine Up program for at-risk students will fund expanding the program to North Rowan Middle and starting a new Six Up program for at-risk students entering Southeast and Knox middle schools.
Since the program started eight years ago, Boylan said 98.5 percent of participants have graduated from high school and 80 percent have gone on to continue their education at two- and four-year colleges.
Chanaka Yataware, executive director of the Salisbury Community Development Corporation, said the $75,000 Community Impact Grant awarded for mortgage assistance had helped 352 families pay mortgages and get caught up on delinquent payments.
Robby Stevens, a counselor for the Family Services of the Piedmont, said the $25,000 grant for credit counseling had helped Rowan County residents pay off secured debts in four to five years by working with creditors to reduce interest rates and offered credit counseling and educational programs on various financial plans such as reverse mortgages.
Other agencies relieving Community Impact Grants were:
– Youth Services Bureau, $18,000 for conflict resolution skills for students and their parents in six elementary and middle schools;
– Adolescent Family Enrichment Council, $35,000 for a violence prevention program for Koontz Elementary fourth- and fifth-graders and their parents;
– Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, $25,000 for expansion of its exercise and fitness program;
– The Arc/Rowan, $7,000 for an educational video about fetal alcohol syndrome for local college students;
– Project Safe Neighborhoods, $25,000 for two events focusing on parenting gang prevention and children in grades K-5 and their families.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249 or kchaffin