United Way meeting tallies encouraging numbers

More than $600,000 raised
Oct. 04, 2013 @ 07:57 AM

Good news just kept pouring in during Wednesday's first report meeting of the United Way of Davidson County at Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center.
A month after kicking off the 2013 campaign, which opened Sept. 1, Darrell McNeil — chairman of the United Way board of directors — is ecstatic about the $604,793 raised toward the institution's $1.82 million goal.
"We're far ahead of where we were last year," McNeil said. "Right now, we are looking darn good."
Funds raised until the close of the campaign Nov. 15 will be disbursed between 29 partner agencies dedicated to services for senior citizens, at-risk children, the hungry and those struggling with addiction. A roomful of loaned executives beamed as they reported, on by one, the amount each of their respective companies have raised thus far.
"This is the best start we've had in years," said United Way President Lee Jessup. "I think that our loaned executives seem to be genuinely interested in getting first-time donors. That's really exciting to me because that means a lot of people are giving that really haven't given before. Therefore, that just energizes the rest of the campaign."
Still very early in the season of giving, the numbers are only part of the story. Of the more than $600,000 donated, much of the money has been given by first-time donors. That has Jessup and campaign director Donna Lane excited at the implication that the message is spreading.
"From what I've seen so far, everybody seems to be positive, not complaining about our goal or that employees are not giving," Lane said. "We're looking to raise that $1.8 million, because or 29 health and human service agencies need every single dollar. I don't want to disappoint them."
Lane further prompted the loaned executives to take things a step further by asking them to bring canned foods to the next report meeting Oct. 23 at BB&T to be donated to a United Way agency. Thomasville city manger and campaign chairman Kelly Craver expressed his optimism about the vision of everyone involved in the campaign during the meeting by giving a first-hand account of how positive the response has been.
"What I'm seeing this year is that people are seeing the importance of what the United Way does," said Craver. "They're saying, 'Oh my gosh. I didn't realize all the ways United Way dollars touch lives in Davidson County.' I think people are opening their hearts and their pocketbooks a little wider."

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.