United Way off to good start in new campaign

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, April 12, 2012

The United Way of Lincoln County’s annual fund drive is halfway home after a strong start in the fall.

     The group put out a video in the summer of 2011 that kicked off their campaign and allowed them to get going after a few slow years.

     Pam Cartwright, director of the United Way of Lincoln County, said since 2005, the group had seen some tough years due to the economy and other non-profit groups doing a better job at getting people’s attention.

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     “The United Way had to market itself much better,” said Cartwright.

     The group’s last big fund drive was in 2009 when their goal was $175,000. But due to the economy and other factors, time quietly passed by until leaders regrouped.

     United Way of Lincoln County Chairman Bill Sones was concerned with the group’s dwindling funds, and knew they must refocus their efforts to get back on track.

     So last summer, Kathy Campbell put together a five-minute video that showed what the United Way of Lincoln County was about and how they helped. The video was then shown to local businesses to get the 2011-2012 campaign under way.

     “We spent two weeks going around collecting footage and conducting interviews for the video,” said Kay Burton, Public Relations director for UW of Lincoln County.

     The goal for this year’s fundraiser is $200,000, and the organization is halfway there thanks to donations from large businesses. Burton acknowledged the efforts of Bank of Brookhaven, King’s Daughters Medical Center, Brookhaven schools and McLane Southern.

     “Those businesses all had very high participation among their employees and we really appreciate that,” Burton said.

     Burton said they wanted people to understand all the local groups that the United Way helps and how those groups are sure to have an impact on them or their family and friends. Some the groups helped are the Boy Scouts, Brookhaven Recreation Department, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Girl Scouts, Lincoln County 4-H and Habitat for Humanity, among others.

     Burton also wanted to point out another key fact.

     “Ninety-nine percent of the donations we take in stay right here in Lincoln County,” she said. “The money goes back into the community to help groups that are really helped by what the United Way does for them.”

     Burton said while the focus was on larger businesses this year, next year the group plans to target smaller businesses.

     This year’s campaign runs through October and the group hopes to finish up the campaign by then.

     “We’re still looking for donations,” said Burton.

     To contact the United Way of Lincoln County or make a donation, contact Burton or Cartwright at 601-833-1411.