United Way Alliance sets fundraising campaign goal

Trying to raise $775,000 in Mid-Ohio Valley

About 150 representatives of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley and its partner agencies Tuesday morning attended the annual Community Leaders Breakfast at the Grand Pointe Conference Center. The goal for 2017-18 is $775,000. (Photo by Jess Mancini)

VIENNA — The United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley Tuesday morning kicked off its 2017-2018 campaign and announced the goals for the regional fundraising drive.

The United Way held its annual Community Leaders Breakfast at the Grand Pointe Conference Center where Campaign Chairman Aaron Stone said the goal is to raise $775,000.

“We feel very confident that we are going to hit it,” Stone said.

The United Way Alliance serves 10 counties in the region with more than 40 partner agencies, such as the Red Cross, SW Resources and the Right Path for Washington County. Additional United Way programs include WV 211, the Hunger Solutions and Back to School initiatives, Warming Hands and Hearts Utility Assistance Collaborative, the FamilyWize prescription drug program and the FEMA emergency program representative.

Last year’s goal was $830,000. The campaign raised $704,000.

Stacy DeCicco, executive director of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, encourages the audience to raise $1,500 to buy 8,000 pounds of food for the Mountaineer Food Bank Tuesday morning during the Community Leaders Breakfast at the Grand Pointe Conference Center. (Photo by Jess Mancini)

Economic conditions and downsizing were prime reasons for not making the goal, Executive Director Stacy DeCicco said.

“When that happens, that’s when the community needs us the most,” she said.

The United Way will become more involved in fundraising, DeCicco said. The first major event is the Beer Bourbon BBQ Fest 7-9 p.m. Sept. 30 at Buzzie Dils Park in Vienna. The event includes a catered dinner, dessert bar, unlimited beer and wine and four bourbon tasting stations.

Tickets went on sale Tuesday and are $100 for an individual and $175 for two.

Also this next year, the United Way will encourage participation in its Pacesetters Club, made up of donors starting at $500, and how it handles grants for other agencies for which it incurs administrative expenses, Stone said.

Aaron Stone, chairman of the United Way Alliance 2017-18 campaign, speaks Tuesday morning during the annual Community Leaders Breakfast at the Grand Pointe Conference Center. (Photo by Jess Mancini)

The Pacesetters is a large amount of money, he said.

“The larger gifts account for a significant part of our campaign each year,” Stone said.

About 150 people attended the announcement.

“It’s great to see everybody here,” United Way Board Chairman Tony Dunn said.

Dunn spoke about the impact the United Way has on the community. Stone cited the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas by the Red Cross.

The United Way also honored corporate sponsors Kraton, BB&T, DuPont, WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center, PM Company, First Energy, Huntington Bank and ProForma.

Chemours was recognized as the Corporate Partner of the Year. Sherry Beardsley, a teacher at Kanawha School, was recognized as Volunteer of the Year.

Student Volunteer of the Year was Jack Johnson. Graham Nesselrode was recognized as the first president of the Student United Way Board.

Also speaking were Terah Klein of SW Resources, Connie Huntsman of the O’Neill Senior Center and John Jackson of Consumer Credit Counseling. The three organizations receive United Way funds.

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