United Way campaign goes into 'overtime'


United Way volunteers announced Thursday the organization has received donor pledges of more than $16 million so far in its 2016 community campaign.

“For the past several weeks, friends, neighbors and coworkers from across Greenville County have come together to support our community through this year’s United Way campaign,” said Campaign Chair Jennifer Johnsen, shareholder at Gallivan, White & Boyd. “The level of support from Greenville County’s corporate community, small businesses, public employees and nonprofit partners has once again been encouraging and outstanding.”

Addressing more than 500 donors and volunteers, Johnsen celebrated support and dollars contributed so far, but said it’s still too early to make a final announcement on this year’s campaign results.

“The momentum behind our United Way Community Campaign is too strong for us to call a final total and stop now,” said Johnsen. “A lot of very supportive companies are just getting started with their campaigns and some other very big campaigns are working hard to reach their company goals. Because the community is counting on us to do everything we can for United Way and its partner programs, we’ve decided to extend this year’s campaign a little longer.”

Johnsen said the campaign has raised more than $16 million dollars for the community as of Thursday, but she expects the number to climb as United Way reaches out to even more people over the next couple of months.

During Thursday’s event, campaign volunteers highlighted some of the success stories from the workplaces that have either completed or are currently running campaigns. Included among those are Fluor Corporation (the largest overall campaign with more than $2.3 million), Michelin North America ($1.44 million), GE ($1.02 million), Greenville Health System ($925,000), Greenville County Schools ($607,821), TD Bank ($261,000), ATS ($21,182), Coldwell Banker Caine ($61,550), City of Greenville ($58,000), County of Greenville ($144,000) and Solvay ($57,000).

United Way also recognized support from 10 companies running campaigns for the first time: Industrial Project Innovations, ChartSpan, Pintail Capital Partners, AVX, McGregor & Company, ADC Engineering, First Community Bank, Kester Search Group, Public Education Partners and Radium Architecture.

Contributions to United Way of Greenville County help to build a Cycle of Success where children start school prepared to learn and go on to graduate, well-educated graduates find good jobs and create stable homes, and children from stable homes continue the cycle because they start school on track and prepared to learn.

Last year, more than 132,000 people advanced along the Cycle of Success in one or more of the four key areas: Life Essentials, School Readiness, High School Graduation, or Financial Stability. The success of this year’s campaign will support the continuation of this important work, which includes funding to more than 100 programs and initiatives provided by United Way and its 69 partner agencies.

For those who haven’t had a chance to get involved during the campaign, there is still time to contribute.

There are three easy ways for individuals and companies contribute: 1) visit unitedwaygc.org/give to make a pledge online and learn more about ways to volunteer in our community, 2) text “uwgc” to 41444 to make a mobile gift, or 3) call United Way at 864-467-3509 if your company or workplace would like to get engaged through a workplace campaign.

“The effort we’ve seen has been outstanding; the generosity unmatched,” said Johnsen. “But, it’s not over. Not yet. What we do over the next couple of months will be put to work to ensure thousands in our community will get the help and support they need to build a Cycle of Success in their lives. This is work that will not just impact individual families, but our whole community for generations to come.”

The final campaign total will be revealed to supporters during its annual meeting and awards celebration event at the TD Convention Center on January 26, 2017.