“United Ways across the country have an annual campaign and we do the big kickoff for the campaign Sept. 1 and try to do the majority of our campaigns within a 90-day period,” President Brenda Morehouse said. “But, with us being a small United Way, and having to work with so many different companies, we try to do as much as we can outside of those 90 days so it goes smooth.
“A lot of people think with the economy it’s hard to raise money to meet goals, but we’ve been very successful. Our goal last year was $475,000, so we upped it $25,000 this year and exceeded it.”
Major contributors included Shaw Industries, Publix of Cartersville and Anheuser-Busch Cartersville brewery. Morehouse said the businesses reported having their best-ever fundraising effort.
“The trend getting started with our major contributors was that our campaigns were going to go better than they ever have,” Morehouse said, adding that voluntary employee payroll deductions have been instrumental in the fundraising process.
She said public employees also continued to contribute, despite facing changes in income due to factors like furloughs.
“Every year, a nonprofit will apply for funding to Bartow County United Way and our allocations committee will go and visit these agencies and find what kind of impact they are having on the community, and then they’ll choose agencies depending on how they scored, what their mission is and how many people they serve in Bartow County,” Morehouse said.
Funds raised through the campaign will be dispersed, based on need, to United Way’s agencies, which Morehouse previously said includes AIDS Alliance of Northwest Georgia, Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter, Bartow County 4-H Club, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County, Bartow Civil Air Patrol, American Red Cross, Christian League for Battered Women, New Beginnings Food Outreach, The Salvation Army, Good Shepherd Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Hickory Log Vocational School, North Bartow Community Services, Bartow Health Access, Advocates for Children, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
Recently, the United Way worked to gather funds to help with tornado relief in Adairsville, organizing, for example, a radio-thon with WBHF, The Daily Tribune News and Cartersville Uncut that raised more than $32,000.
“We are a safehouse for people to donate their money where we can distribute it to programs and make sure the money is spent here in Bartow County for our residents here in Bartow County,” Morehouse said.
She said the concentration of residents losing their homes and necessities associated with natural disasters like the Jan. 30 tornado bring to light the ongoing difficulties of many Bartow County residents.
“Even though the tornado may be the disaster, our agencies do the same thing year-round on a constant basis working with individuals on their own personal disasters, whether it be loss of a job or loss of a spouse, but when you have a tornado, that need grows,” Morehouse said. “When we see something like that happen in our community, our agencies continue to do the same thing they’ve always done, but they’ve got to step it up.”
Morehouse said, overall, the United Way raised about $42,000 for tornado relief.
The United Way’s annual luncheon meeting will be held Tuesday, March 12, at noon at the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce Anheuser-Busch community room. The cost is $15 per person and reservations are due today. Contact Morehouse at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 770-386-1677.