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Campaign Chair Jay Wilson rolls out campaign theme –
‘We’re on a roll! Let’s get to work!’

SAVANNAH, GA (September 7, 2023) – United Way of the Coastal Empire kicked off the 2023 Campaign on Thursday, September 7, with a high-energy and sold-out luncheon with more than 700 community leaders at the Savannah Convention Center.

During the Kickoff event, Jay Wilson, United Way of the Coastal Empire’s 2023 Campaign Chair and International Paper Savannah Mill Manager, inspired the crowd by sharing why he supports the organization that has served this community for 85 years. He went on to share the many ways United Way and our region are “on a roll” and asked everyone to “get to work” by becoming a United Way donor or volunteer.

Wilson pointed to several milestones United Way of the Coastal Empire achieved in the past year to include:

  • New partnerships with the four counties the organization serves, the cities within them, emergency management agencies, Rotary Clubs, and school systems, 
  • Expansion of the Read United program into all four counties, doubling the number of students who received new books,  
  • Sold-out events, like the Women Who Rule, which set new records this spring in its support of critical transportation needs, 
  • The efforts of 3,400 volunteers who contributed more than 24,000 hours of their time, worth an estimated $750,000 
  • And for the first time in United Way of the Coastal Empire’s 85-year history, three corporate donors, Gulfstream Aerospace, Georgia Ports Authority, and Colonial Group, teamed up with their employees to each run workplace campaigns that donated more than half a million dollars each for our community!

“United Way is on a roll, making an even bigger impact in this region than ever before,” said Wilson. “The need for the work of United Way and its funded nonprofit partners in the months and years ahead will only increase because while the Coastal Empire is “on a roll” with unprecedented economic development, business investment, and job creation, there will continue to be growing pains and challenges in areas like housing, childcare, literacy, workforce training, and financial skills.”

Pacesetter Campaign results totaling $437,269 were also announced. This is an increase of 28% over last year’s Pacesetter campaigns. The 19 Pacesetters businesses that agreed to kickstart the Campaign by running early and ambitious employee-giving campaigns include:
Atlanta Gas Light
Chatham Steel
Dixie Plywood
Effingham County Board of Education
First Chatham Bank
Girl Scouts of Historic Savannah
Goodwill of Southeast Georgia
Liberty County Board of Education
Living Independence for Everyone
PAC Fiber
Reiser & Reiser
Savannah Speech & Hearing
Senior Citizens, Inc.
Sterling Seacrest Pritchard
Thomas & Hutton
Union Mission
United Way of the Coastal Empire

Additionally, the list of prize giveaway items for this year’s campaign was also shared. Anyone who joins a campaign presentation or donates to the cause can enter to win. One of the prizes, donated by Libby and Kevin “Catfish” Jackson, is a VIP University of Georgia Game Day package for the University of Kentucky game in Athens with all of the perks.

The Kickoff program also included the premiere of the 2023 Campaign video, produced in-kind by Mari and Jim Carswell with Spyhop Media, featuring many of the programs and services United Way funds to improve the lives of people throughout Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty Counties. Throughout the video, Beach High School Senior Omarrieona Grant sings a beautiful song specially written for United Way by Linda Bandelier.

The event concluded with a special performance by Cecilia Tran Arango, Laiken Williams, Michelle Meece, and Jeremy Davis and the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra.

“For 85 years, United Way of the Coastal Empire has served this community,” says Brynn Grant, United Way of the Coastal Empire President and CEO. “Our mission is to improve lives, and we do that by providing a safety net for the most vulnerable and pathways for upward mobility so everyone in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties can thrive. That is only possible through the generosity and caring power of this community dating back to 1938.”

This year’s Kickoff was sponsored by Colonial Group, Georgia Ports Authority, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Hyundai, Publix, Atlanta Gas Light, BankSouth, Expert Hearing, Global Investment Traders, and Sterling Seacrest Pritchard.

Those interested in making a donation or learning more about United Way of the Coastal Empire’s work should visit 

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