The United Way has made generations of impact in the Valley.
Monday, the organization celebrated a century of making a difference and pointed ahead to the next 100 years.
The organization was founded on this day in 1919.
“For 100 years our valley has been the beneficiary and witness to just how impactful going the extra mile can be for people in need,” said Greg Greenwood, of Greenwood Chevrolet.
The first campaign raised $328,000 in 1919 and since then more than $165 million has been given.
The United Way funds emergency services run by 35 agencies and 51 programs such as Imagination Library, Success by 6 and Success After 6.
“I’m especially touched by the work we do with children and I think it’s really life-changing,” said Chris Muransky, the Muransky Companies.
“We’re all in with it as a community. From a corporate perspective, PNC has a passion for early childhood education,” said Ted Schmidt, of PNC Bank.
The United Way’s focus is on children and families that face barriers to success. It has 700 children in its programs, wanting to give each of them a chance to be successful.
“Our goal there is academics, but also show them dance, theatre, physical fitness and each night those kids go home with a warm meal. So that’s really the direction of the United Way, I think at least for the next decade,” said Bob Hannon, United Way president.
The next 100 years should be exciting.
United Way has great partners with ideas like the Cruze or Cash Giveway, which Kathy Grizinski won just last week and took the car.
But the challenge ahead is that 50 percent of United Way donations come through workplace giving.
“The community is very supportive and very generous to united way but the model of raising all your money thru workplace giving is just not enough anymore because less people are working in the Valley,” Hannon said.
United Way is celebrating its 100-years, first with Monday’s recognition of the actual anniversary. Next, you’ll see an exhibit at the Tyler History Museum.
Later this year, a black tie gala, then the Champions Among Us event will return.