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Thankful for support

United Way highlights community giving

March 30, 2013
By Beth Christian Broschart - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

There is a feeling of satisfaction and belonging that comes when you contribute to your community, and supporting the United Way of Randolph County is a great way to lend a helping hand to a friend, family member or neighbor in need. Even in this tough economy, giving a little can add up to help a lot.

The United Way of Randolph County just announced that it met its 2013 campaign goal of $165,000. Individuals and chairpersons from the top 10 workplace campaign sponsors in Randolph County shared their stories of success in hopes that other businesses, no matter how large or small, can develop their own campaign strategies and help neighbors in need.

"Sixty-three percent of all donations to the 2013 United Way of Randolph County Campaign came from corporate and local business workplace campaigns," said Gary Clay, campaign chairman. "Businesses range from large groups like Armstrong World Industries, to middle-sized groups like UPS, to small groups like the Elkins Sewing Center."

Article Photos

Allegheny Insurance

Clay said the keys to the success of any workplace campaign are telling employees how the United Way makes a difference in the local community, asking them to support their United Way if they can and making payroll deductions an option for their giving. Most people are looking for ways to help their neighborhood be a better place to live. The 27 agencies the United Way supports do this every day, 365 days a year.

"Workplace campaigns play an instrumental role in our United Way's fundraising goal," said Kathy Leombruno, president of United Way of Randolph County. "We're fortunate that dozens of local businesses consider United Way to be an important community enterprise and encourage their employees to give, advocate and volunteer in their respective workplaces."

Leombruno said workplace campaigns are held in a variety of businesses, both large and small, and the funds they raise address unmet needs of fellow citizens, neighbors and friends. Businesses get creative in how they raise money in the community while having fun.

A great example of a business having fun while raising money for United Way is the Live United Cornhole Tournament, sponsored by Elkins UPS.

"We are so pleased that UPS sponsors this event to help raise funds and awareness of the United Way campaign," Clay said. "UPS has progressed from employee donations, through business sponsorship and having fundraising events in conjunction with United Way of Randolph County."

Clay said UPS Supervisor Jason Eason came to Elkins from Charleston, where he was already a big supporter of the United Way.

"We are fortunate to have Jason in our area," Clay said. "He is a true believer in the United Way, and he led the campaign in Charleston. He knows when one campaign ends, it's time to start another."

Eason said he is working to gather donations for the next cornhole tournament and hopes to add a barbecue cook-off to the event. The event UPS sponsored in 2012 featured both singles and doubles and was a family-oriented fundraiser, featuring hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and drinks. The goal for the first year was to have 15 to 20 teams participate.

"The event helped us to raise funds for the United Way, and gave families the opportunity to join us for the tournament and help out as well."

Payroll donations from Randolph County Schools employees also helped the United Way reach the $165,000 campaign goal. Interim Superintendent of Schools Terry George said the employees need to be commended.

"Our principals learn about the campaign during a principals' meeting and then take the information back to their schools," George said. "They do a great job relaying the information to those working at each school."

Clay said students at Coalton Elementary School brought in their pennies to help reach the organization's goal.

"They presented $70 in coins to be added to the campaign goal," Clay said. "It is wonderful to see children who understand the importance of giving. Everyone gave a little, and it added up to a lot."

Clay said students at George Ward Elementary School also help raise funds for the United Way goal.

Randolph County Schools Child Nutrition Director Lorrayne Corley said she chooses a payroll donation for United Way because her mother always taught her to give.

"Payroll donations help agencies like the EMS, youth activities and other activities in our community," Corley said. "I just think it's a great idea."

Citizens Bank of West Virginia President and CEO Thomas K. Derbyshire said his organization has a longstanding history of supporting United Way.

"Annually, our employees hold various in-house fundraisers, while many employees also give to United Way's campaign all year long through payroll deduction," Derbyshire said. "In addition, Citizens is pleased to make an annual corporate donation to the United Way."

As an advocate of United Way, Citizens Bank has been a sponsor and supporter of many of its events and activities through the years.

"In more recent years, our bank has become a headline sponsor of the LIVE UNITED Telethon; we are proud to lend our support to a premier event that's vital to meeting the United Way's campaign goal while educating the public about the good work being completed by its agencies."

The other important contribution Citizens Bank make to United Way is through volunteerism.

"We are very pleased to be able to offer United Way our staff members as volunteers for use for their professional skills and knowledge to help with their organization and special projects," Derbyshire said. "Kathy Leombruno, Citizens Bank's senior vice president and marketing officer, currently serves as president of United Way's Board of Directors. Several members of our staff annually serve on the telethon committee and volunteer for other United Way projects. We realize when we support our employees' efforts to make a positive impact on the community, we're building a stronger and healthier place for all of us to live and work.

"Looking forward, we are proud to continue our partnership with United Way, and we'll continue reaching higher to advance the common good within our own organization as a new LIVE UNITED campaign begins."

One hundred percent of the employees at Wilson Lumber donate to the United Way, most by utilizing payroll deductions for their gifts. Their campaign begins with Wilson speaking with the employees to answer their questions and get them excited and on board with giving.

"I contribute to the United Way because it seems like the right thing to do," said Herman Burkey of Wilson Lumber.

Each year Davis Memorial Hospital sponsors a donation drive to update employees about the United Way campaign.

"We set up a booth outside the cafeteria showing which agencies United Way helps in the area," said marketing assistant/specialist Chad Ware. "Employees can elect a payroll donation or select a one-time donation. By donating, employees are automatically signed up for a door prize."

Davis Memorial employees Marjory Moses, director of community services, and her husband, Dr. Bob Rose, support the United Way faithfully each year.

"Each of the 27 agencies that the United Way provides funding for plays an important role in the health and well-being of our community," Moses said. "With one donation to the United Way, it's easy to support all of these vital services."

Cindee Campbell, vice president of client services and agency operations at Allegheny Insurance, said the agency has maintained 100 percent participation in the United Way payroll deduction campaign since the 1980s.

"The United Way supports local nonprofit organizations," Campbell said. "All of the money stays local, so we are giving back to the community."

Campbell said they speak with employees at a staff meeting about giving to the campaign.

"We have employees in Barbour County that donate to Randolph County because they do not have a United Way."

Allegheny Insurance employee Kevin Lambert said he supports the United Way.

"The United Way is a great way for me to support local organizations or charities, and support local people within our community for different needs or services," Lambert said.

Davis Trust Co. is a very solid supporter of the United Way and also has a longstanding tradition of helping the United Way.

"Our board of directors recognized the great work of the United Way and we are a corporate sponsor," said Hugh Hitchcock, CEO of Davis Trust Co. "I also support the United Way of Randolph County."

One hundred percent of the employees at Huntington Bank of Elkins also donate to the United Way of Randolph County.

"We utilize payroll donations and use other fun activities like paying to wear jeans to help support the United Way," said Marsha Gardner of Huntington Bank.

"You never know when someone needs something, and I know they support those in need," said Diana Rider. "The United Way is a good cause."

Clay said the United Way of Randolph County receives out-of-state donations as well.

"We get checks from folks in St. Louis, Mo., and Tampa, Fla.," Clay said. "These come from folks who used to live in the county but have moved away. They still remember us and keep up faithfully with their contributions."

Clay said when he started with Armstrong World Industries more than 30 years ago, he signed up for payroll deduction to support his local United Way.

"While I was filling out my insurance forms and W-4s, I found they included a United Way pledge card with my paperwork," Clay said. "I thought this was a wonderful idea to start folks giving to the United Way."

Locally, Armstrong World Industries sponsors a dinner in November for its employees. Admission to the event is a completed United Way donor card, whether the employee elects to donate or not.

"Those who donate have their names placed into a pool with the opportunity to win many different gifts," Clay said. "Approximately 46 percent of the Armstrong World Industries employees support the United Way cause."

Karen Gainer, a representative for Mon Power, a First Energy Company, said the company sponsors a kick-off assembly.

"During the assembly, we watch a video and learn about ways to help out," Gainer said. "It is great to donate your money to the United Way, where you can rely on someone else to distribute the money where it's most needed."

Gainer said this year's video featured a First Energy Company employee speaking about receiving help for the employee's daughter, who was battling leukemia.

United Way of Randolph County monitors the contributions and the agencies it serves. One financial gift supports 27 different local programs and services.

Sid Gillispie, executive director of the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA, said the agency appreciates the support from the United Way.

"The United Way is an important partner in helping the YMCA deliver its services," Gillispie said. "Support from the United Way directly funds the YMCA's sponsored membership program, making the Y's programs and services affordable to everyone."

"The work the United Way has accomplished this year is incredible," said Cindy Hammer, regional director for Catholic Charities WV. "They have worked so hard, and have been looking for an executive director for nearly eight months. It shows the dedication of the board, and how selfless these folks are. They continue to go out into the community and go on, filling in as they are needed."

Hammer said this adds so much credibility to the work of the United Way.

"When Catholic Charities WV makes their budget, it includes a United Way donation. We count on those funds. I feel the United Way is an agency that people are committed to give to every year, because that is where their hearts are. They trust that the money they give to the United Way will go to the places it is needed. I think it's great that our community pulls together and helps support the 27 agencies. We appreciate the support, and it allows us time to do our job rather than spending time fundraising."

For information on payroll deductions or setting up workplace donations, anyone interested can contact the United Way of Randolph County by calling 304-636-0516.



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