Rowan County United Way extends campaign

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Kathy Chaffin
Going into the final stretch, the Rowan County United Way has raised only 63.8 percent of its $1,971,200 goal.
“Obviously, the campaign is not over,” said Campaign Chairman Chuck Elliott at Wednesday’s weekly report meeting at Cloninger Ford.
Though the winner of the new car will be drawn next Thursday as planned, he said the campaign will be extended at least until Friday, Nov. 14. The names of Donna Byrd of Freightliner and Lt. Michael Terry Agner of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department were drawn Wednesday as the ninth and 10th finalists.
United Way volunteers will draw two more finalists for the car ó which will make a total of 12 ó next Wednesday, the day before the drawing.
Elliott addressed the $713,163 still to be raised in the campaign. Though everything going on with the economy has been distracting, he said now is the time to get out and push for the United Way.
A special effort will be made to reach people who have not had an opportunity to contribute, he said.
Elliott said probably everyone at the meeting knows someone who hasn’t been asked to contribute to the United Way and challenged volunteers to go out and talk to them about the 16 agencies it supports.
“We will get there,” he said of the goal. “We are going to continue until we get there. We’re going to get there for the people of Rowan County.”
Jackie Harris, campaign/marketing director for the Rowan County United Way, said after the meeting that she is concerned about the low percentage of contributions at this point in the campaign. “I know a large part of it is the economy and the fallout from that,” she said. “Lots of folks are feeling it and as a result, just simply don’t have the money to be supportive at this time.”
On the other hand, she said the need for services provided by the agencies is even greater in hard times. “Without the services provided by United Way agencies, the quality of life in our community would not be as good.”
Harris said United Way staff and volunteers are grateful for the $1,258,037 contributed to the campaign so far. “Over the next two weeks,” she said, “we will work as a community as hard as we can to reach our goal or to get as close as possible.”
Despite concerns about meeting the goal, Wednesday’s United Way report meeting was celebratory. In keeping with this year’s election “Vote for United Way” theme, Tyler Weant of the Salisbury Kiwanis Club was back as Uncle Sam.
Eric Slipp of AkzoNobel, formerly National Starch, and Brian Miller of Citizens South Bank made a surprise entrance wearing face masks of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.
Slipp, wearing a McCain mask, said, “Sen. Obama and I may not agree on much, but do agree on United Way. We’re for the United Way.”
Smith, as Obama, said, “Folks, you’ve been hearing me talk a lot about change … I’m here to tell you I hope we can find change for the United Way. Do you have any change?”
Mike Stewart, controller of Cloninger Ford, welcomed everyone to the dealership on behalf of owner Larry Cloninger.
The dealership’s contributions are up by about 50 percent this year, he said. “We’re proud to be a part of United Way,” he said.
Cloninger is one of five Rowan County automotive dealerships teaming up for the fourth year in a row to give away a new car to a lucky contributor.
Division chairs announced their totals so far. Special Gifts had the highest percentage of its goal with 100.2, followed by Education with 96.6 percent. Other totals by division are as follows:
Chairmans ó $199,089 or 39.8 percent of goal; Commercial 1 ó $34,986 or 43.7 percent; Commercial 2 ó $78,300 or 92.3 percent; Commercial 3 ó $49,422 or 68.3 percent; Community Business ó $3,805 or 44.8 percent;
Industrial 1 ó $57,859 or 57.7 percent; Industrial 2 ó $44,723 or 49.5 percent; Miscellaneous ó $53,300 or 88.8 percent; Presidents ó $212,946 or 56.8 percent; Professionals ó $80,005 or 72.7 percent; and Public Employees ó $106,461 or 73.4 percent.