‘Lucky Penny’ will top out fall United Way campaign at $2 million

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rowan County United Way

The Rowan County United Way has announced a goal that is a penny short of $2 million for its fall fund-raising campaign, the largest goal in the history of the campaign.

Steve Fisher, president of the Board of Directors, said that the goal of $1,999,999.99 will allow the campaign chair, Penny Greer-Link, to contribute the final penny to bring the total to $2 million.

“After an extensive review of our community needs and spirited debate on the economic health of Rowan County, the United Way Executive Committee was convinced that an increase in the neighborhood of 3-4 percent over last year’s goal was needed to provide adequate support to our member agencies,” said Fisher.

“Staring down an imposing goal of nearly $2 million, long-time board member Bill Burgin said, ‘Well, we really only need $1,999,999.99 … we already have our Lucky Penny’ (referring to Penny Greer-Link). And suddenly the impossible seemed possible.”

The campaign will begin with a kick-off on Wednesday, Sept. 9, from noon to 1 p.m. at the J.F. Hurley YMCA. The United Way has met or exceeded its goal for the past four years, including raising $1,972,300 in 2014, surpassing the goal of $1,879,750. The funds are distributed to 16 local human services agencies approved by the United Way.

Greer-Link, Women’s Veteran Program manager at the VA Medical Center, said that the United Way Board of Directors, Cabinet leaders and staff are eager to begin and confident of raising the funds. “The needs are great. We have an involved board, a hard-working staff and wonderful agencies,” she said.

The United Way Board of Directors selected a patriotic campaign slogan of “Red, White and You: Together We Can” for this year.

Michelle Patterson, public relations chairman of the campaign, said that the slogan reflects the strong patriotic feelings of Rowan County citizens, as well as promotes working together to help those in need in the county. “The slogan makes the campaign personal and generates the feeling that each volunteer’s work is needed and that each person’s donation is important to reach our goal,” she said.

“As we enter into the month of August, we look forward to things kicking into full swing with campaigns, events, report meetings and the many activities which the United Way public relations committee has planned for this year,” said Greer-Link.

The campaign will begin with the Rowan County United Way Sunset Run on Friday, Sept. 4, at 8 p.m., held in conjunction with Downtown Friday Night Out. The official start of the campaign season will be the following Wednesday, Sept. 9, at the J.F. Hurley YMCA at noon.

“In 2014, many citizens of Rowan County were assisted in some way by a United Way organization,” said Greer-Link. “The assistance provided to these individuals are services which are not duplicated and are desperately needed for many of them. The people of Rowan County have always been generous in their giving, and I hope this year will be no different. If people will just look around them, they will see someone in need, and it’s not only someone they don’t know, many times it’s the person next door or working right beside them and they don’t even know it.

“I hope people who have given will continue to support our efforts and will encourage others to do the same. And I also hope those who don’t know what the United Way is about will take time to find out. We are an organization that cares about the citizens of this community and helping those who need the help when they need it the most. Our 16 agencies do a great job of assisting these individuals.

“I’m pleased to say one campaign is in the process of running and several others will kick off within the next week or two. We hope by these companies/organizations starting early they will lead the way for what we anticipate to be a very successful campaign.”