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United Way of Greenbrier Valley breaks record, raises more than $300K in 2017 campaign

Mar. 31 marked the end of the United Way of Greenbrier Valley’s 2017 fundraising campaign, and the final numbers are something to celebrate.

For the first time in its history, the nonprofit, which supports programs and services in Greenbrier, Monroe, and Pocahontas Counties, surpassed the $300K mark.

Executive Director Erin Hurst couldn’t be happier. “So many positive things came together to make this a record-breaking campaign. It was the perfect combination of community and business participation. We have a lot of people to thank,” she said.

Certainly, there are many to thank for the United Way’s recent success. Ninety-six individual donors contributed a total of $123,767, representing just over 40 percent of the total $307,877 raised. Workplace campaigns organized by companies, schools, state organizations and partner agencies contributed another $72,944 to the total campaign. Grants received from the Daywood Foundation and Seneca Trail Charitable Foundation totaled $40K. Other income came in at $26,113.

Special events organized by the United Way brought in another $45,053.  Fundraisers included the award-winning Lewisburg Chocolate Festival; the Dirt Dash/Rocky Ridge Trail Run, a harder-than-it-sounds trail race at Greenbrier State Forest; a Rock Fiddle concert featuring Adam DeGraff on the deck of The Asylum; Empty Bowls, a hunger awareness fundraiser featuring the pottery of several local artists; the Greenbrier Sporting Club’s Cabin Fever Chili Cook-off in which local non-profits compete for the titles of Best Chili and Best Team Spirit; and, finally, Bourbon & Bubbles, an elegant garden party hosted on the terrace of The French Goat.

Hurst adds, “Our fundraisers aren’t possible without the generous support of so many local businesses and community volunteers which, of course, includes our devoted board of directors. There are many ways people give to the United Way. The dollars donated are hugely important, but so are the in-kind donations and the volunteer hours.”

Raising record-breaking funds in Campaign 2017 meant the organization was poised to support a record-breaking number of projects in the subsequent year. The granting cycle has just closed, and the United Way is pleased to have added four new partner agencies in 2018 bringing the total number of agencies served to 27.

Davis Stuart, a therapeutic residential school located in Lewisburg, is one of those new partner agencies. The United Way of Greenbrier Valley’s grant allocation committee was impressed with the school’s proposed project to combat childhood obesity.

“I deeply value our relationship with our local United Way,” says Mark Bissell, PhD, CEO of Davis Stuart.

Cindy Turek, a senior manager at Davis Stuart who was instrumental in the organization’s successful grant application, adds, “The funds will be used to enhance our fitness facility and allow us to create a program that will make our residents healthier, physically and emotionally. We are grateful for United Way funds which help us with our initiative ‘Fight Against Childhood Obesity.’”

For other organizations, the funds they receive from the United Way are a necessary part of the annual budget. The Pocahontas County Family Resource Network’s Harvest House Food Pantry, serving low income families in Marlinton, is an example.

“The United Way is the primary funding source for the Harvest House Food Pantry. Without their support, our families would not receive meat with their food boxes,” explains Director Laura Young.

The food pantry serves approximately 250 families including many elderly individuals living on fixed incomes. Funding from the United Way pays for the purchase of “high quality protein products at greatly reduced prices” to supplement food donated by the Mountaineer Food Bank.

Young continues, “The United Way values the work that we do. They attempt to keep reporting requirements simple and Erin Hurst is always willing to lend a hand. Working together, we can support more quality programming.”

In keeping with its mission to be a “trusted partner that, through collaboration, advocates for a stronger, healthier, more altruistic community by inspiring people and mobilizing resources to meet human needs in Greenbrier, Monroe, and Pocahontas Counties,” the United Way redistributes funds to fill the financial gaps other community nonprofits face in their programming.

For more information or to donate to the United Way of Greenbrier Valley visit UnitedWayGreenbrier.org.

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