United Way of the Coastal Empire Annual Meeting
By: Cecilia Russo Marekting
United Way of the Coastal Empire announced today a record-breaking $13.1 million of total funds in and through the organization supporting the community in Fiscal Year 2021-2022 -- a figure at the heart of today's celebratory Annual Meeting. This final number, reported differently than in previous years, fully reflects the work of the organization including the impact of COVID-19 response efforts and legacy giving.
Coordinated Government Programs include $3.1 million of Emergency Rental Assistance funds processed through United Way in partnership with Chatham County. These dollars, paid directly to property owners and utility companies, helped keep those most severely impacted by the pandemic safely housed.
Cecilia Russo Turner of Cecilia Russo Marketing chaired the year-long fundraising effort. "Donations of nearly $8.2 million are simply amazing, especially as we faced another challenging year due to COVID-19," Russo Turner said. "I'm so proud of our volunteers, donors, and everyone who helped make this amazing result happen. The resiliency of this community gave life to our theme of 'No Grit, No Pearl,' and the generosity of the community has been inspiring."
"The breadth of work accomplished by the United Way staff and community volunteers over this past year is staggering. In addition to the historic core of United Way's work, including partnering with the most effective and efficient nonprofits in our four counties and direct services like 211, our team processed millions in federal aid, which our local governments entrusted to our oversight," said Jeff O'Connor, the outgoing UWCE chairman. "And yet, for size and complexity of the organization, our United Way is nimble, too. Six weeks ago, a deadly tornado hit Bryan County, and we were able to immediately mobilize resources to financially support our friends and neighbors."
CRAIG HARNEY SPIRIT OF PHILANTHROPY AWARDS
The meeting also featured the presentation of the Craig Harney Spirit of Philanthropy Awards, a series of three awards that salute Giving, Advocating, and Volunteering.
The Giving Award went to Michael Solomon, who has a long track record with United Way and most recently created the Business Champions program, in which volunteers, hand-picked by their company's leadership, significantly increased total giving from assigned accounts.
Stepping forward to receive the Advocacy Award for Chatham County and the City of Savannah were County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis and City of Savannah Mayor Van Johnson. The two organizations have long been great supporters of the organization, running two of the top campaigns every year. But during the pandemic, both have stepped up in heroic ways. In particular, they strengthened their partnerships with United Way to help our community and our neighbors.
To learn more: https://uwce.org/