United Way still working toward local goal of $35,000By Lacy Hilliard
The United Way is in the home stretch of their 2014 fundraising campaign. Last year as a part of their campaign, The United Way held a successful concert emceed by Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey. This year’s event will be held at Heritage Hall on February 22.
The United Way Organization was originally founded in 1887 in Denver, Colorado by a handful of community members that decided to band together and form an organization for with the sole purpose of raising money for community-minded organizations. The City of Denver raised $21,700 that year and though that was a huge sum for the maiden voyage of any organization, it pales in comparison to the billions of dollars United Way organizations throughout the country raised in 2012.
United Way continued to build throughout the years. By 1948, more than 1,000 communities had launched United Way chapters in their communities and in 1987, United Way celebrated its Centennial by debuting on a United States postage stamp. The success of the organization only continues to grow, proving that just a handful of people really can make a difference when they concentrate their efforts toward a greater good.
Today, The United Way spans the country and allots donations for countless organizations. The Johnson County Chapter of United Way alone helps more local organizations than any other. The beneficiaries of The United Way’s local efforts include; Laurel, Neva, Trade, Cold Springs/Forge Creek, Doe Valley, Shady Valley, and Butler Volunteer Fire Departments, UT/TSU Extension 4-H, the Northeast Chapter of the American Red Cross who hold blood drives and provide local disaster relief, the A.C.T.I.O.N. Coalition – an anti-drug taskforce that works to rid the community of harmful substance abuse, the Johnson County Cancer Support Center who helps many local residents that are currently battling cancer, Johnson County Safe Haven – a domestic violence support center, Johnson County Senior Center, Legal Aid of East Tennessee -- a publicly funded law office that provides free legal assistance to people who cannot afford a private attorney, and the Mountain City/Johnson County Community Center who not only provides local youth with a venue for fellowship but also sponsors an after school program in which the children receive meals and snacks, all free of charge.
The Johnson County United Way is President Ruth Ann Osborne, Judy McGuire, Frank Arnold, Flo Bellamy, Priscilla Davis, Tom Neaves, Kathy Poole, Kim Pope, Temple Reece, RoseEdda Slemp, Bobbie Smith, Leni Smith, and Norma Sutherland. These members selflessly donate of their time and energy to help make The United Way a success by working to garner donations from local businesses and individuals and to help promote community awareness.
The United Way is a unique organization in that its efforts are concentrated locally. Donations made within a local chapter, stay within that community. As part of the 2014 campaign and February 22 event, the United Way is looking for gracious donors willing to provide a product or service to be auctioned off. All donations are tax deductible. If you’re interested in donating to the United Way, contact a United Way member or visit the website at www.liveunited.org and be sure to keep an eye on The Tomahawk’s Community Calendar and www.heritagehalltheatre.org to find out more about upcoming United Way events as well as details about the February 22 event.