The United Way of Maury County plans to kick off its 2017 campaign Thursday morning.
Some of the community’s top donors and other guests will hear Executive Director Laura Truelove explain this year’s theme, “We Are All In.” She’ll set a goal of raising $350,000 to help vulnerable groups in Maury County.
As always, I am a strong believer in the United Way. I have seen the good it’s done locally and every place I’ve lived.
My family and I turned to United Way years ago when we were looking for reliable information on local agencies. We knew United Way vetted every agency it funds and trusted the decisions made by its managers and board of directors.
Through the years, I have found no better way to donate money to non-profit organizations. Yes, you can hand a check to your favorite charity, if you want all of your eggs in one basket.
United Way spreads your generosity to bedrock local groups who fight on the front lines every minute for improved quality of living and making a difference.
This year, United Way will send contributions to groups specializing in issues relating to youth, families, individuals, seniors and people in crisis.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Maury County, CASA of Maury County, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, Imagination Library, Maury County Schools Student Fund, Middle Tennessee Boys Scouts, The Family Center, Columbia CARES, The Hope Clinic, Place of Hope, Project Learn, Tennessee Kidney Foundation, Tennessee Rehabilitation Center, Maury County Senior Center, 2-1-1, Center of Hope, Kid’s Place, Neighbors Concerned/Harvest Share and Tennessee Poison Center will receive the funds.
That’s a comprehensive, well-rounded list.
As most of you know my regular column, my passion remains literacy, which I believe is key in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty. The Boys & Girls Club and Imagination Library top my list, but I’m also partial to groups that assist families and women in crisis.
This region is one of the worst in the state for domestic violence. I cannot imagine what it would do without the Center of Hope.
I asked some members of the United Way of Maury County’s board of directors why they serve and support its mission.
◆ Tim Thomas of LegalShield insurance said: “Being a part of United Way of Maury County allows me to participate in our community by helping in any form necessary to help create a culture I can be proud of for years to come.
I believe United Way of Maury County benefits every organization it donates to which in turn benefit every family or individual those organizations touch on a day to day basis.
◆ Patrick M. Carter of Wolaver, Carter and Heffington law firm said: “The United Way is the gold standard for charitable giving. Every dollar that is given to the United Way of Maury County stays local and helps sustain a multitude of local initiatives that directly benefit our community. I am honored to serve the United Way of Maury County because I strongly believe in the organization’s mission of fostering local programs designed to address unserved or underserved local needs.
“Results in my line of work often take months or years to bear fruit but the work the United Way does locally is immediate, immense and is readily identifiable. I feel tremendous gratitude that I am able to serve in the capacity as a board member for the Maury County of United Way as my wife and I reside and raise our children in this community and we love it very much.”
◆ Charlie Plunkett, First Farmers and Merchants Bank trust officer said: “United Way means hope and direction to those who are in need or struggling. We have wonderful local organizations that are doing a lot to help the community that isn’t always publicized. United Way of Maury County offers additional help to these organizations to allow them to keep helping our community.
“United Way of Maury County is beneficial in that it connects youth, individuals and families to local organizations and businesses where needs are met and relationships are forged to benefit those who need it the most.”
◆ Renee Adams, Farm Bureau Health Plans CFO said: “United Way of Maury County gives me the opportunity to support many great agencies here in Columbia. UWMC works closely with the agencies to fill needs that I as an individual may never hear about.
“UWMC is beneficial to our community because the donations are awarded to those agencies in our community that serve the citizens of our community. UWMC works with agencies that serve children, adults and senior citizens in our community, assisting in filling the gaps in funding.”
◆ Lolly Watson, campaign chair and community advocate, said: I support United Way because I love Maury County. I like to describe United Way as the “Keeper of the Maury County Mall.” We have excellent non-profits in our United Way mall. Each one provides a different safety net for anyone at risk. However, the keeper of the mall is responsible for making certain the net has no hole…that the net is complete in coverage.
“The keeper of the mall is responsible for making sure all of its anchor stores are legitimate. The keeper of the mall is responsible for educating the public about its services. Unlike a retail mall, the United Way Mall doesn’t charge for its services, but instead helps supplement funding to ensure an even higher success for our non-profits. I truly believe by supporting United Way, I can better participate in the pulse of our community.”
All of their reasons add up to one conclusion for me. United Way brings Maury County together under one umbrella.
It represents the spirit of giving and provides rays of hope to thousands who need it.
I’m proud to sing its praises and only wish it could raise $500,000, not just $350,000.
James Bennett is editor of The Daily Herald. He was a 2017 Tennessee Press Association first-place award winner for editorial writing and public service. Contact him at email@example.com.
United Way of Maury County board members met this week to discuss final preparations for its 62nd annual fundraising kickoff, starting at 8 a.m. Aug. 24 at the Ridley 4-H Center.
The organization, founded in 1955, services more than 20 local nonprofits to help balance annual budgets, fund special projects or donate directly to families in need. It also services many local schools through its Needy Student Fund, which allows up to $3,000 per school to purchase things like clothing, shoes and supplies.
The fall campaign has a goal of allocating a minimum of $350,000, starting with money raised at the upcoming Aug. 24 event.
Themed “We Are All In,” the fundraiser will feature a breakfast with dozens of Maury County
leaders, business owners and benefactors. Attendance is by invitation only, but executive director Laura Truelove said there are several ways the public can be involved.
“You can make donations through the website at www.unitedwayofmaury.org, right there on the homepage,” Truelove said. “They can also email me or call my phone if they want more information.”
Donors can also give money to any of the nonprofits directly. Truelove can be contacted at (931) 381-0100 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone with invitations to the Aug. 24 event must RSVP by Wednesday, Aug. 16.
United Way’s role as a “safety net to those in need” is to provide more than just money. It also helps local families lead stronger self-sufficient lifestyles, education and safety for young people and the general health and well-being of Maury County residents. The programs it supports include medical care for uninsured residents, youth organizations, crisis centers and benefits for senior citizens.
Some of its largest partners include the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maury County, Hope Clinic of Middle Tennessee and the Family Center.
Campaign chairman Lolly Watson said it is important for the community to be involved, because United Way of Maury County depends on donations just like the organizations it oversees. It is also a good chance for the community to foster stronger relationships by providing an outlet for giving back to those who need it most, she said.
“We’re just hopeful the community knows the impact that United Way has. It’s good for everybody,” Watson said. “This campaign really encompasses the whole county, its businesses and individuals across the county”
From Left: Charlie Plunkett, Kristen Mashburn, Rick Clark, and Jan McKeel stand with a check for $25,000 donated from Musicfest! The 3rd annual Musicfest is scheduled Sep 29-30