Cecilia Russo Turner is the Founder and CEO of Cecilia Russo Marketing, a company she…
On Thursday, September 10, United Way of the Coastal Empire will kick-off an annual campaign unlike any other in our 82-year history. Due to the pandemic, this campaign will run almost entirely online, via video-conferencing, socially distanced-presentations, and with creative support from our many media friends who care about the communities in which they live and work.
Despite the challenges of running a campaign this way, learning as we go, I could not be more encouraged. The need is greater than ever but so is our courage and resolve as a community.
Our early calls on companies have given me great hope. In these unprecedented times, I am seeing leadership in its finest form. Many of our community leaders are not just committing to the campaign, but increased levels of giving! They are like the blue skies we know are always there even behind the darkest clouds, and they are depending on United Way to deliver their support across our region.
And we are.
In mid-March, United Way of the Coastal Empire seeded a COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund with $80,000 to strategically support those who had experienced a critical loss of income directly related to the pandemic. Since that time, this community has added more than $659,000 to the cause. To date, $585,000 has been spent helping more than 1,850 people, mostly with housing and utilities. Fully 90% of those assisted have never needed help before.
Because of the effective system United Way built over the past six months through their 211 resource and referral call center and in collaboration with key partner agencies, the organization was approached by the City of Savannah and Chatham County to help deliver CARES Act money specifically to assist those facing evictions, foreclosure, and/or shut-off of utilities. While it is not without challenge or risk, United Way knew it had to do this important work to help more people and get this capital flowing through our regional economy.
In addition, so far this year, United Way has been able to fulfill promised grants to our 54 partner agencies through the dollars designated to the United Way Community Fund because pledges made in the 2019 campaign have been honored even through this crisis. The direct support provided through the Community Fund is vital to many of our region’s highest-performing nonprofits that serve on the front lines in good times and in bad, many particularly stressed under the circumstances we are now facing.
United Way of the Coastal Empire was founded as the Community Chest by this community for the benefit of this community. And thanks to the vision of Herschel V. Jenkins who established a trust for United Way, along with several other revenue sources, 95 cents of every donor dollar is invested back into the community.
The mission of United Way is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities to advance the common good. Please join us in that effort by giving what you can at uwce.org. You give a little bit and together, we do a lot.
Chief Terry Enoch
Campaign Chair, United Way of the Coastal Empire