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Savannah, GA (March 28, 2018) – United Way of the Coastal Empire thanked individuals who volunteered their time to make 2017 a success, celebrated the community giving that the organization relies so much upon, and welcomed new board members and officers who will lead the charge for this year’s campaign and community investment process. Approximately 400 people attended the Annual Meeting and Awards luncheon held on Wednesday, March 28th at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa. The event was sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.

Board Chair Steve Pound, vice president of St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System, expressed gratitude to volunteers for their dedicated service to the community through United Way and proudly shared the work the organization has done throughout the past year. He gave a recap of the organization’s accomplishments over the last year which included:

  • $8.4 million raised and investments in 92 programs and services across 58 nonprofit agencies in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty Counties.
  • Answered 9,000 calls from local citizens looking for help through United Way 2-1-1 call center. United Way 2-1-1 is a free, confidential helpline and one of our community’s most valuable resources. More than 10,000 referrals were made to improve lives.
  • Helped rebuild the lives of our neighbors on Tybee Island affected by Hurricane Irma. Through United Way Volunteers, the organization mobilized 121 volunteers to help salvage precious belongings and aid in debris removal and cleanup for 59 homes.
  • Helped 1,900 low-income women with gas cards, cab fares, bus passes, and minor car repairs through WOMEN UNITED Transportation Fund. By having access to transportation, low-income women can find and keep jobs, access local health services, food banks, childcare, and life skills training programs.

“We are very thankful for our successes and are committed to strengthen our community by helping children succeed in school and life, providing the tools to help families and individuals be self-sufficient, and improving health for all,” said Pound.

During the event, United Way presented the Spirit of Community Awards to three extraordinary recipients: Robert H. Demere, Jr. of Colonial Oil; Jimmy Burnsed of South State Bank (retired); and Melanie Willoughby of St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System. They were recognized for their exceptional philanthropic commitment by giving, advocating, and volunteering to United Way and the community.

Pound presented United Way President and CEO Gregg Schroeder with the Presidential Award. Schroeder announced his retirement last December after 33 years of serving the organization. Pound will remain as Board Chair and is leading a search committee to identify Schroeder’s replacement.

The business portion of the Annual Meeting continued with the election of seven new community leaders to serve on the Board of Directors, as well as its slate of executive committee members for 2018.

The new board members are: Dr. Cheryl Dozier, Savannah State University; Craig Harney, WTOC-TV; Dr. Anne Levett, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System; Ryan Sewell, Sterling Seacrest Partners; Mark Shawe, Weiner, Shearouse, Weitz, Greenberg & Shawe; Cecilia Russo Turner, Cecilia Russo Marketing; and Taffanye Young, City of Savannah

The 2018 board executive committee is:

  • BOARD CHAIR: Steve Pound, St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System
  • BOARD VICE CHAIR: Toby Moreau, BB&T (retired)
  • IMMEDIATE PAST BOARD CHAIR: Jenny Gentry, Ameris Bank
  • CORPORATE SECRETARY: Michael Kaigler, Chatham County Government
  • TREASURER AND FINANCE CHAIR: Jeff Joyner, SunTrust Bank
  • CAMPAIGN CHAIR: Larry Silbermann, WTOC-TV
    o Mark Bennett, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
    o Terry Enoch, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System
    o George Powers, Community Volunteer
    o Joey Strength, HunterMaclean

Pound concluded the program by introducing Larry Silbermann, vice president and general manager of WTOC-TV, as incoming Campaign Chair. Silbermann will be leading the United Way campaign, encouraging individuals to make a difference in the lives of others by giving, advocating, and volunteering for United Way.

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