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30,000 donors, 15,000 volunteers celebrated at United Way annual meeting


United Way of Greenville County celebrated the impact that more than 30,000 donors and 15,000 volunteers had on the community last year during the organization’s Annual Meeting and Awards Celebration Thursday at the TD Convention Center.

With support from more than 30,000 donors, 15,000 community volunteers, and 600 individual companies, 2017 Board Chair Michael Cinquemani said United Way made good on its mission to bring people and resources together to build a Cycle of Success for all in Greenville County.

“United as one community, we improved the lives of more than 100,000 individuals and families in very meaningful ways,” he said.

Working on the priority issues of school readiness, high school graduation, financial stability, and life essentials, United Way-supported programs and initiatives include everything from emergency food, shelter and health services to parenting education, afterschool tutoring and job training. 

Last year, United Way led and invested in more than 100 programs and initiatives working to build a cycle where Greenville County’s youngest children start school prepared to learn and go on to graduate, well-educated graduates find good jobs and create stable homes for their families, and children from those stable homes continue the cycle in the next generation because they’re equipped with the tools to start school prepared to learn.

Approximately 30,000 people made marked progress on the Cycle thanks to United Way-supported programs and initiatives providing help with childcare scholarships, mentors and afterschool programs, employment skills, affordable housing and financial literacy training.

On Thursday, Cinquemani announced a new 10-year goal of breaking the cycle of poverty for 10,000 Greenville County families by targeting third-grade reading scores, improved graduation rates in high-need communities, and financial stability through self-sustaining jobs, increased savings and affordable housing. 

“Despite all of our great successes as a community, so many are still struggling to see it,” he said. “Right now, 65,000 families—that’s one in three Greenville County families—are living in poverty or teetering right on the edge. We know we can turn this around. And today, United Way of Greenville County is compelled to draw a line in the sand and set a vision for a better future.”

United Way got a boost in that work Thursday as United Way Campaign Chair Kurt Rozelsky and Vice Chair Diana Watson revealed this year’s community campaign reached $16,662,591, topping last year’s total by more than $125,000.

“This is an unbelievable accomplishment, and one that will help so many people build a Cycle of Success in their lives,” Rozelsky said. “We are so very grateful for the time, energy and dollars you all gave to make this happen.”

Approximately 1,100 volunteers and supporters attended Thursday’s event, which included the sixth annual presentation of the United Way Spirit Awards. The Spirit Awards recognize the people and organizations in our community who lead through a commitment to volunteerism and advocacy, philanthropic support, and nonprofit innovation.

This year’s honorees were newly-retired United Way President and CEO Ted Hendry (Community Leadership), United Ministries (Nonprofit Leadership) and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System (Corporate Leadership).

Rozelsky and Watson, who will serve as chair of the 2018 campaign, also presented more than 600 honors across six different categories. The recognitions included: 

The Campaign Award of Excellence to 358 companies and organizations that met two or more of the following award criteria: 10 percent increase in employee giving; $100 or more employee per capita; 50 percent or more employee participation; one or more Palmetto Society ($1,000 or more) members; 50 percent of the contributors give at the Fair Share Level (1 percent or more of annual salary); and a ranking in the Top 25 largest overall United Way campaigns.

The Chairman’s Award to 142 companies and organizations that met four of the award criteria listed above.  

The Campaign Award of Advancement to 99 companies and organizations achieving a 25 percent increase in employee giving and 34 companies and organizations that achieved a 25 percent increase in employee participation.  

The Campaign Premier Award to 12 organizations completing a workplace campaign for the first time.

#1 Awards were presented to companies whose outstanding support of the United Way placed them first in total employee contributions.  

2 to 24 Employees:  Windsor/Aughtry Company, raising $40,420

25 to 99 Employees:  UBS Financial Services, raising $87,870

100-199 Employees:  Elliott Davis, raising $158,520

200-499 Employees:  UPS Inside Sales, raising $176,836

500-1,000 Employees: 3M Company, raising $102,958

Total Employee Giving: Fluor Corporation, raising $1,438,679

The Top 10 Overall Campaigns (combined employee and corporate gifts) were also recognized. They are: Fluor Corporation at $2,321036, followed by Michelin North America, Greenville Health System, GE, Greenville County Schools, Publix Super Markets, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, TD Bank, Mitsubishi Polyester Film and UPS.

Also during Thursday’s event, the United Way board elected members to new terms and a slate of volunteers to serve on its executive committee, including new Board Chair David Lominack.