GREENVILLE, S.C.—In its 95th year of serving the community, United Way of Greenville County is kicking off its annual community campaign with a goal of raising $17 million.
More than 1,000 volunteers and representatives from 600 businesses and organizations helped celebrate the start of the campaign Wednesday at the TD Convention Center, where 2017 Campaign Chair Kurt Rozelsky, partner with Smith Moore Leatherwood, shared his motivation for supporting United Way.
“We all know that we are lucky to live in a community as beautiful and prosperous as Greenville County,” he said. “We’re frequently recognized as one of the best places to live in America. But our goal during this campaign season is to make sure that is true for all of our neighbors, because we know too well that not every citizen in our community has access to the same Greenville.”
Dollars raised in the campaign will be used to support United Way’s work 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 100,000 people were helped by United Way in one or more of the four key areas: Life Essentials, School Readiness, High School Graduation, or Financial Stability.
But Michael Cinquemani, chair of the United Way of Greenville County Board of Trustees, said there is still more work to do, with one-in-three people in Greenville County unable to meet basic financial needs and more than 70,000 people living in poverty.
“These big problems require big solutions,” said Cinquemani. “Rather than focusing on a single agency or issue, United Way strategically invests in a partnership of programs and initiatives that work hand-in-hand to create solutions to problems that no single organization can solve on its own. That’s why it is so important that we come together as one community during this campaign and join United Way in this fight for change.”
Campaign Vice Chair Diana Watson of Fox Carolina announced the effort is already off to a strong start, with 33 “Pacesetter” companies—including United Way and its partner agencies—having turned in employee pledges totaling more than $3.9 million, or 23 percent of the overall goal, to date. The figure includes four large campaigns—Fluor Corporation, Greenville Health System, Michelin North America and Greenville County Schools—which are still running, but have already surpassed $2.3 million combined.
Pacesetter Companies for 2017 are:
Blue Cross Blue Shield
C&S Wholesale Grocers
Craig Gaulden Davis, Inc.
Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP
Elliott Davis, LLC
First Citizens Bank
Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A
Greenville County Schools
Greenville Health System
Master Power Transmission
McMillan Pazdan Smith
Michelin North America
Nachman Norwood Parrott
Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP
South State Bank
Southern First Bank
Springbrook Behavioral Health
Tandem Innovative Payment Solutions
Thomas McAfee Funeral Home
United Parcel Service
United Way and Partners
UST Logistical Systems
The kickoff event was postponed one day due to the effects of Hurricane Irma in the Upstate. On Wednesday, United Way of Greenville County announced it would make a $25,000 contribution from its special emergency fund for disaster response to United Way Worldwide’s Hurricane Relief Fund. Cinquemani asked attendees to also support that effort by texting RECOVERY2017 to 41444 and make a mobile gift.
United Way also unveiled a new mobile app to make it easier for users to donate, volunteer and share their support of the campaign on social media using the hashtags #TeamUWGC and #17for17.
The campaign runs through Oct. 31.