United Way of the Concho Valley Approaches $1 Million in Contributions for 2013
The United Way of the Concho Valley held its mid-campaign report luncheon celebrating community leaders and businesses that have helped the charity raise money and finance meaningful charity projects throughout the community. For this period, the campaign has raised $707,182.73. Jay Michaels, on-the-air radio personality for Foster Communications (KIXY) donated an additional 22 cents on stage to make it a more round number, $797,183, and easier to repeat often. The luncheon was held at the McNease Convention Center Tuesday, Nov. 5.
The organization is within striking distance of surpassing $1 million for this year's campaign, which ends Dec. 31. "We anticipate a great response from the community based upon what has been raised in the past," said Archie Kountz, the 2013 Campaign Chair.
The United Way recruits business owners and leaders who will visit other companies to present to their employees the programs that the local organization is supporting. They solicit campaign pledges, usually monthly payroll deductions, to fund that year’s projects. “You don’t have to be a large company to participate,” said Kountz. Kountz said participating companies with one or two employees are as numerous as the large employers.
Entertainment for the football-themed luncheon was provided by Jeremy Bryant, sportscaster for Foster, who interviewed Lake View High School Chiefs quarterback Nick Martinez. “We’re not the biggest, but we have the most heart,” Martinez said, when answering a question from Bryant about the size of Lake View’s opponents attempting to crash through Lake View’s offensive line to get to him, the quarterback. Lake View is a contender for the playoffs this year.
Fred Key, CEO of Foster Communications has a long history with the local United Way. “Foster has been involved with the United Way since I started with the company 42 years ago,” Key said. Both Key and Jay Michaels are past Campaign Chairs. Key has served many years on the board. “Our people [at the stations] get involved,” Key said. “They want to because of the 18 agencies we serve.”
“Everybody at one time or another in their life will be touched by a United Way agency,” Key said. “You think you won’t, but you will. It may be no more than the Y.M.C.A. where you go to work out everyday. The Y is an United Way agency.”
Key has seen many changes to the United Way of the Concho Valley over the years. “One of the best improvements over the years is that we’ve gone to program funding,” Key said. Program funding is a requirement that the United Way funds specific projects within local charities (or, agencies), instead of writing a blanket check to the agency every year. For example, the United Way is funding the English as a Second Language initiative by the Adult Literacy Council this year. “Our donors started asking us ‘can you show us where the money is making a difference’,” Key said.
The United Way has a committee that vets applicants to receive money every year. If the committee selects the project to be funded, the agency has to report back at the end of the year with quantified results, Key explained.
The second improvement Key has seen over his years with the charity is the community involvement. “We have a ton more people involved than there were when I first started with United Way,” Key said. Community involvement, Key said, is a direct result of the United Way’s outreach through education and being more media friendly.
“We’ve become more media savvy,” Key said. “The organization understands how to reach out to the media and we’ve used it very succinctly.”
“Community support is very important. Without it, we cannot provide services for the people in the Concho Valley who truly need them,” Kountz added.
Among the 18 projects the United Way of the Concho Valley is funding with this year’s campaign are:
- Adult Enrichment Center’s Nursing and Personal Care Program
- Adult Literacy Council’s English as a Second Language Program
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council’s Adult Treatment Program
- Big Brother and Big Sisters Lonestar’s Community Based Mentoring Program
- Boys & Girls Club of San Angelo’s Education and Career Development Program
- Boys & Girls Club of Menard’s Project Learn Program
- Children’s Advocacy Center’s Count Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA)
- Girl Scouts of Central Texas’ Stay in School and Enjoy Real Success (SISTERS)
For more information on the United Way of the Concho Valley, visit their website.
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