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(SAVANNAH, GA) – United Way of the Coastal Empire officially kicked off the 2021 Campaign on Thursday, September 9th with a presentation across three local news channels including WJCL, WSAV, and WTOC at 5:30 p.m. The Kickoff included this year’s campaign video and presentations from Cecilia Russo Turner, the 2021 Campaign Chair, and Brynn Grant, United Way of the Coastal Empire President & CEO.

The Kickoff marked the beginning of United Way of the Coastal Empire’s traditional fall campaign with Russo Turner’s philosophy of life, “no grit, no pearl,” as the call to action.

Every year, some key employers begin their campaigns in late July and August. This year, these United Way Pacesetters have produced inspiring and positive results with a 22% increase in total giving compared to last year!

Pacesetters include: 
BankSouth, Effingham County Board of Education, First Chatham Bank, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, Hancock Askew, Park Place Outreach, PAC Fiber, Port City Logistics, Reiser & Reiser CPA, Renasant Bank, Royce Learning Center, Savannah Center for Blind & Low Vision, Savannah Speech & Hearing Center, Sterling Seacrest Pritchard, Synovus, Thomas & Hutton, and United Way of the Coastal Empire.

Some creative solutions and powerful decisions were at the root of these generous companies’ record performances. For example, PAC Fiber (formerly Pembroke Advanced Communications) stepped up their dollar-for-dollar match with a 150% company match to their employee pledges.

Employees at Thomas & Hutton also stepped up in a big way. “We are a professional services organization and making communities better is part of what we are called to do,” said Sam McCachern, President, Thomas & Hutton. “Engineers, by trade, design for a better quality of life, but we also like to put our money where our mouth is by being a United Way pacesetter to help provide a better quality of life for those in need. We know our dollars make an impact and what’s raised here stays here – helping our local nonprofits in our communities.”

Synovus Bank saw an increase in giving of 87% this year! The Effingham County Board of Education, First Chatham Bank, Hancock Askew, and Sterling Seacrest Pritchard set new records as well.

“I extend my sincerest thanks to these Pacesetters who have contributed so powerfully to our campaign,” said Russo Turner.  “We want to cast a wider net and increase total campaign participation in our four-county region by at least 1,430 people or 11% compared to last year. Our campaign cabinet is also focused on increasing total giving to the United Way Community Fund by the same 11%. The Community Fund is what allows United Way to award local nonprofit program grants every year and to provide direct services through the 211 call center, county service centers, and United Way Volunteers.”

“This traditional fall United Way Campaign is vital to our year-round success. It is an important and much-beloved legacy we intend to maintain as most of the money pledged to the community through United Way is a result of these efforts,” said Grant. “We look forward to celebrating the caring power of our community with all of our donors in November.”

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