Depended on by nearly all of Scotland County’s non-profits and charities, the local United Way now has a new place to call home following a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday.
A testament to the breadth of the United Way’s reach, the ribbon cutting drew scores of locals to its new office complex on Lauchwood Drive Thursday afternoon, from business owners to elected officials.
“Every person has been affected positively by the United Way,” said Becca Hughes, Chair of the Scotland County-Laurinburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “Just like the Chamber, the United way is about partnerships.”
With the addition of a new office and fundraising well in excess of the organization’s yearly goal of $210,000, United Way officials say that those partnerships were as fruitful as ever in 2012-13.
“We have always wanted to grow our (fundraising) goal and get to the point where our agencies don’t have to fundraise. If they come to us and say they need $10,000, we would love to give it to them. (United Way Executive Director) Debbie Grant has done that,” said Barbara Alexander, current United Way board member and former executive director.
Threatening clouds overhead and an occasional raindrop did little to spoil the mood, which was buoyed by the good news Alexander delivered.
“Our goal for this year was $210,000 and $257,000 is where we are at,” Alexander told the applauding crowd, assembled in the parking lot in front of the United Way’s new office space.
United Way President Dee Hammond said that the new office building will help the organization further its ambitious mission of helping everyone in need.
“We are here to celebrate our new location. The United Way will continue to enrich the lives of people in our community. (Thanks to the United Way) we have a brighter future for our children, (we will) enrich the lives of the elderly, bring hope to those who are hurting and strengthen families and much more.”
Hammond also highlighted the importance of having a thriving United Way office inside of the city of Laurinburg, where nearly all of the money raised by the organization stays.
“90 percent of donations and contributions go back to our community and the other ten percent is for salary and overhead,” she said.
According to Hammond, the 10 percent is a great value, as Grant and Alexander both put in far more time than they were compensated for over the course of the past year.
“Debbie Grant and Barbara Alexander put way more hours into this job than they could account for in 20 hours. 20 hours a week is not enough,” Hammond said.
Symbolic of the extensive partnerships upon which the United Way relies, both Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker and Scotland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Guy McCook spoke prior to the ribbon cutting.
“Mayor Parker and I have been working together over the last several months to try to partner to improve our community. And I think that’s a lot of what United Way is about. It’s a partnership between the companies and volunteers and individuals and non-profits in our community, working together to strengthen our community and the entities that we support,” McCook said.
Many of those companies and community partners were recognized for their contributions during a brief awards ceremony that followed the ribbon cutting.
“We still need everyone’s help,” Alexander said while distributing the awards.