The United Way of Greenbrier Valley’s 2019 fundraising campaign ended on Mar. 31, 2020, and, for the third year running, is celebrating a record-breaking campaign.
In 2018, the nonprofit that mobilizes resources for charitable projects across Greenbrier, Monroe, and Pocahontas Counties, raised a then-record of $403k and set a goal of reaching $425K for 2019. The challenge of meeting an ever-rising bar was daunting, but once again, the United Way of Greenbrier Valley exceeded its goal and raised $427,033.75 in Campaign 2019.
This success is due to the generosity of individuals, businesses, and foundations coming together to ensure the health, education and basic needs of the Greenbrier Valley’s most vulnerable populations. In 2019, more than 100 individuals contributed, four foundations granted generous gifts, and 396 employees at 43 businesses participated in workplace giving.
The year-long participation and personal endorsement of campaign chairs Kyle and Ann Fort also made an enormous impact on the campaign. Their efforts included an in-home donor reception, signing hundreds of solicitation letters, assisting in a new United Way/Children’s Home Society partnership, and their own generous financial contributions.
“Kyle and I encourage those who are fortunate enough to be making ends meet and are physically well to give back in service to this great community,” says Ann Fort. “A considerable focus has been on the children in our area who are no doubt facing many challenges at this time. Lack of proper nutrition; isolation from friends, teachers, and family; parents who work full time without adequate child care – these are areas where we can really make a difference.”
The United Way of Greenbrier Valley’s three-year record-breaking fundraising streak has meant that each subsequent year, the organization has been able to extend support to more partner organizations. In 2020-21, campaign funds will support 30 local programs and services, four of which are new partnerships. Children’s Home Society is making modifications for improved foster home safety. Mountain Heart Community Service will purchase health and safety items to support infant motor skills and cognitive development. Radioactive Robotics, a Pocahontas County-based youth robotics team, will receive funding to cover competition expenses for students. Funds allocated to Wellspring will provide motel rooms as temporary shelter for homeless and transient populations who are awaiting permanent housing.
As the 2019 campaign was winding to an end, COVID-19 became a worldwide health crisis. In response, the United Way of Greenbrier Valley and the Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation joined forces to create a Covid-19 Relief Fund. Since its inception in March, the fund has raised $216K and supported the response and relief efforts of 40 local nonprofits, churches, and civic organizations.
“I wish there were words stronger than ‘thank you,’” says United Way Executive Director Erin Hurst. “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of donors, supporters, and volunteers who inspire us to do more every day in service to those in need.”
Adding to its ever evolving portfolio of community engagement programs, in 2019 United Way added West Virginia 2-1-1, an information and referral hotline for individuals and families who need help with utility bills, rent, food, transportation, and extrication from domestic violence situations. Thomas Ruggiero, a Life Bridge AmeriCorps member, joined the United Way team to lead the program. Since July 2019, WV 2-1-1 has fielded more than 450 calls from Greenbrier, Monroe, Pocahontas, and Pendleton County residents and pledged $20,515.40 in monetary assistance.
“WV 2-1-1 began as a resource navigation tool for health and human needs, but quickly became a vital lifeline for residents of rural West Virginia to receive the emergency help they seek,” Ruggiero says.
As the need to address the health, education, and safety of the region’s residents grows due to the challenges COVID-19 presents, supporting your local United Way is crucial now more than ever. Help United Way of Greenbrier Valley maintain its vital programs and services such as WV 2-1-1, Project Apple Seed, and funded partnerships by giving securely at UnitedWayGreenbrier.org/donate or send a gift to United Way, P.O. Box 572, Lewisburg, WV 24901.