GAINESVILLE - Saying they hit every goal they set for the 2013-14 year, United Way of Hall County board members celebrated their achievements at their annual end-of-campaign luncheon Wednesday at the Gainesville Civic Center.
"The mission of United Way is to unite people, organizations and resources to improve lives in Hall County," said United Way of Hall County President Jackie Wallace in a written statement.
"We are the 'great uniter.'"
In 2013-2014, United Way launched such projects as the Read-Learn-Succeed initiative to encourage early learning in children, age birth to five years. In addition, the agency continued the School Tools for Cool Kids School Supply Drive, the Adopt a Backpack Program and the training of future non-profit board members through the Board 101 Series.
In addition, United Way looked at ways of improving its own operations such as the creation of the United Way Advisory Council and participating in a visioning and strategic planning session which led to the adoption of four core values of the organization.
"Without doubt, there is no way the staff at United Way could ever accomplish so much without the many dedicated and committed volunteers who contribute their time and talent to the organization," said Kelly Lee, 2013-2014 board chair for United Way.
United Way also thanked the many donors that enabled the agency to continue its work by investing $1,557,490.00 in 49 programs from 26 organizations addressing education, income and health.
Campaign Chair David Abee said, "We hit every goal that we set out to achieve this year and are proud of the results."
Abee said 223 companies in the community hosted employee campaigns in 2013-14.
The top 10 donor companies honored at the Wednesday luncheon were
Publix, Northeast Georgia Health System, Fieldale Farms Corp., Cargill Inc., Wrigley, the Hall County School System, Conditioned Air Systems Co., Wilheit Packaging Material, United Parcel Service and the Gainesville City School System.
Also at Wednesday's event, the Chairman's Award was presented to the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. The award is given in recognition of a company that demonstrates high campaign excellence and whose support also extends far beyond the annual campaign. The Chamber of Commerce has had 100% employee participation in the last five campaigns including two Leadership donors and two Young Leaders Society members. In addition, they have had staff members involved with United Way as volunteers, and they have been continuous advocates for United Way initiatives, fundraising efforts and projects throughout the community including Dana Miller, serving on the Community Investment Committee; Tim Evans, serving on the Board of Directors; Shelley Davis, serving on the Campaign Cabinet; Meg Nivens, with Vision 2030's partnership with Read Learn Succeed; and Megan Martin, participating in the filming of the Year End Video. In addition, longtime friend of United Way, President and CEO of the Chamber, Kit Dunlap helped spearhead the Regions Bank raffle at the 2014 Buy Local Safe and Green Expo to benefit United Way this year.