In 2012, the United Way of Randolph County marked its 50th anniversary, celebrating half a century of helping nonprofit organizations provide much-needed assistance to residents in the area.
And its campaign chair, Gary Clay, is hoping people continue to help the United Way help members of the community for another 50 years.
"Our slogan is, 'We've been here for 50 years; help us be here for 50 more years," Clay said in a recent interview.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Katie Kuba
United Way of Randolph County campaign chair Gary Clay holds up a bag of change students from Coalton Elementary School collected to donate to the United Way, which raises money for 27 nonprofit organizations in the area.
The United Way is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization that raises money for 27 service agencies working to improve the lives of local residents through partnerships. United Way agencies include the American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, the Family Resource Network, the NCCA Homeless Shelter, Women's Aid in Crisis, county libraries and many, many more. It also provides support services for the nonprofits under its umbrella and checks to make sure the money people donate is being spent in the areas for which it's appropriated.
"We help them raise money; what they do best is provide services," said Clay, who is also a United Way board member.
Thus far this year, the United Way has raised approximately $106,000; its goal is $165,000.
"We've reached 64 percent of our campaign goal, and we continue to need help every year," Clay said.
However, the fundraising for 2013 programs doesn't end on Dec. 31; it wraps up at the end of the day Feb. 9 with one of the United Way's signature giving events its annual telethon. This year, it's especially essential to make a charitable contribution, Clay said. The telethon will be aired on Channel 3, the local cable telvision access channel and on radio station WDNE's website.
"Times haven't been any tougher than they are now," Clay observed. "The need's never been higher, which has been a challenge for people on the edge (of being able to donate). The storms didn't help either."
Yet another way the United Way raises funds for essential services is through the payroll deduction program it offers to employers. Employees may opt to give even just $1 per paycheck, Clay said, but that adds up, and every cent is raised and spent in Randolph County.
"You find over and over that if people are given the chance to give money (through payroll deduction) they do it," Clay said. When he gives presentations at companies about the payroll deduction program, he stresses how many lives United Way is able to touch through its partnerships.
"If you give me 10 minutes, I can tell you how either you or someone in your family, or one of your friends or neighbors has been touched by the United Way in the past year," Clay said. "If you donate just a dollar a week, well, that's a soda."
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.