Having fulfilled its 2013 fund raising goal, United Way of Scotland County now has its eyes on rebuilding community awareness and support of its mission.
The fund raising campaign, chaired by Emerson Veler, began in August 2012. Entering 2013, the campaign was $40,000 short of its $210,000 goal. By the end of January, though, the campaign had reached $223,000, which will help to compensate for the organization’s fund raising shortfall in 2012.
Church Community Services, the Scotland Community Health Clinic, Habitat for Humanity, and Scotland County Humane Society, are among the 19 Scotland County nonprofits to which 95 percent of United Way funds are distributed. These organizations fund raise on their own, and the funds they receive through United Way can only be spent on programming, rather than overhead or staff salaries.
“A lot of these places would be hard pressed to raise what we give them, and a lot of it’s through payroll deductions,” said United Way board member Barbara Alexander. “There’s no way that 19 agencies could go in and get payroll deductions.”
The 2013 campaign goal was reached in large part due to contributions from employees of local businesses and manufacturers, many of whom elect to have a monthly contribution deducted from their paychecks. This year, $66,000 was donated by Campbell’s Soup employees and $31,000 by Hanesbrands employees, on top of contributions from many others.
“If it wasn’t for Campbell Soup, Service Thread, Scotland County Schools, and Scotland Memorial Hospital we wouldn’t be where we are,” said United Way Executive Director Debbie Grant. “I’m proud to be a part of a community that pulls together and goes after a goal. Between individual special gifts, local businesses, city and county employees, and manufacturing companies, each donation got us what we need to fund the agencies for this year.”
In January, an additional $10,000 was donated by employees of Railroad Friction Products in Maxton, which had not participated in the United Way campaign for several years. This contribution is due in large part to Railroad Friction employee Coy Moody, who found that many of those working for the company were unaware of United Way.
“All I did this year was give a presentation at our Thanksgiving dinner,” Moody said. “We offered a couple of incentives, but they had just never heard of it; they had no idea what it was about. I think in the past they just put slips in their payroll checks and said if you want to give, give.”
Going forward, Grant said that her strategy will be to make local residents aware of United Way and how it benefits everyone in the community.
“It would be easier to achieve our goal if we could get more people to give and understand that if they could give just a dollar per week or month, it’s better than nothing at all,” Grant said. “No matter how big or small, every donation matters. This year I plan to work more on educating the community on United Way. Once I feel the public understands how United Way works, even if they still don’t give, then at least I’ll feel I have done my job.”