As the Brookhaven Middle School band wound down the music, United Way of Morgan County volunteer Billy Allen screamed across the Holiday Inn banquet floor to an associate.
“Hey, John, we got the spirit. Have you got the spirit?” he said.
John Boston returned the volley: “We got the spirit, yes we do. We got the spirit, how about you?” he yelled.
And soon, each side of the room erupted into a competitive back-and-forth shouting match.
In that sprightly lunchtime environment Friday, 2012 United Way campaign manager Terry Welch announced that the agency barely missed making its $2 million goal, bringing in $1,905,000. But he wasn’t dismayed.
Welch, site manager for BP Decatur, noted the effort during United Way’s “Victory Celebration” is a 10-percent increase over last year. The agency raised $1,740,000 in 2011.
“We knew that 2012 was a stretch goal,” he said. But Welch wants to complete some unfinished business and build on the enthusiasm. He not only volunteered to tackle the 2013 campaign as chairman but increased the target to $2.5 million.
United Way executive director George Pollitt heralded Welch’s initial effort during a campaign with a “Live United” slogan.
“It was a nice increase for the community,” Pollitt said. “We’re blessed to have so many companies that are committed to the people of Morgan County. Because of that commitment to United Way, we will be able to serve more people next year.”
Pollitt said he doesn’t believe the economy determines the agency’s success.
“It’s because of the work of our volunteers,” he said.
Welch said Decatur Utilities general manager Ray Hardin will serve as co-chair in 2013.
“Ray can see how we’re setting up the campaign, increasing the viability of what United Way is doing and bringing new companies on board,” Welch said. “It should be a smooth transition for Ray as chairman in 2014.”
Welch’s wife, Janelle, added a new dimension to United Way by announcing she will lead a women’s leadership council to raise money.
Janelle Welch said she and United Way staff members Sherry Pentecost and June Asher had just returned from the Women’s Leadership Summit in Charleston, S.C.
“We met a powerful, determined group of strong women who are making a difference in their communities,” Welch said. “Since organizing in 2002, women’s leadership councils have raised over $1 billion and made changes in their communities. They’re a group of women who use their affluence to influence.”
Welch made the announcement at an appropriate time since Friday was International Women’s Day.
Ronnie Thomas can be reached at 256-340-2438 or email@example.com.
During the United Way of Morgan County's Victory Celebration on Friday, Terry Welch, 2012 campaign chairman, spotlighted several companies for their efforts:
Daikin America raised $307,000 at a charity golf tournament. Combined with corporate gift and employee contributions, the company raised a total of $464,000, again topping the list.
BP Decatur raised more than $170,000 and went from three leadership givers to 36.
Ascend Performance Materials had 93 percent participation.
Cerro Wire had over 47 percent participation.
Half of General Electric's employees contributed.
Toray Fluorofibers had a 20-percent increase in employee giving with a dollar for dollar match, partnered with Toray Carbon Fiber to increase giving by 200 percent.
ITW had 100 percent participation.
Decatur Morgan Hospital increased giving by 20 percent.
In addition to Publix making a 10-percent increase in giving, the company had 17 leadership givers.
United Launch Alliance raised more than $100,000 and had more than 25 leadership givers.
3M increased employee giving by 13 percent.
Decatur Utilities increased employee giving by almost 30 percent.
John Abbot Loaned Executive Award: April Byers of 3M campaign that raised $145,000
Outstanding Government Campaign Award: Decatur Work Release, No. 1 of 13 in state
Groundbreaking Award: Wiregrass Construction, raised nearly $8,000
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