When United Way of Southeast Georgia launched their annual campaign last month it was under the direction of new executive director Carey Melton.
Even though leading the agency is a new role for Melton, she is a very familiar face around the United Way campaign. Melton has worked for the agency for 17 years, beginning as an assistant to Johnny Hathcock and then Bob Olliff. After Olliff left United Way the end of last year to accept a position with Colony Bank, the board selected Mel1ton to lead the agency.
As the only employee, the success of the campaign depends heavily on a key partnership between her board of directors, which includes leaders representing 22 businesses, and corporate partners to meet their $400,000 campaign goal.
The board members assist Carey by calling on businesses in the communities they serve to conduct employee campaigns. The employee campaigns are critical to the success of United Way in allowing employees to contribute through payroll deductions. Many of the employers match the employee contributions, helping their contributions make an even larger impact.
United Way was introduced to Bulloch County in 1980. Since then, it has grown to a regional United Way serving Candler, Evans, Emanuel, Jenkins and Tattnall along with Bulloch. They collaborate with 19 local agencies to mobilize local resources that provide critical health and human services.
Their pacesetter campaign with the Board of Education saw a 2.5-percent increase over last year, which is very encouraging, Melton said.
“The excitement we saw through the Board of Education campaign gives us hope that we can exceed our campaign goal,” Melton said. “This year we are focused on broadening our base by adding more employee worksite campaigns and increasing employee participation at existing worksite campaigns.”
Last year they introduced the Caring Club Card and have expanded it this year to include 38 businesses that offer discounts varying from percentages off a purchase to BOGO deals. The merchants that participate help United Way to reward contributors who give $2 or more per week to the campaign. Those contributors of $2 per week or more will receive a Caring Club Card.
Supporting United Way is a safe and efficient way to make the greatest impact on our community. Each year they provide over 30,000 services annually to Bulloch County residents alone.
We saw firsthand during Hurricane Matthew and again in Hurricane Irma the real power of the United Way. With one phone call to the United Way they were able to mobilize their agencies to assist our community at a time of its greatest need. In addition, because these agencies work with the most vulnerable citizens in our community, they were able to project and predict the areas of our community where the greatest need would be.
Through the support of United Way, we were able to establish the Bulloch VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) an organization that activates critical agencies and connects them with needs in times of a disaster. With their support, Bulloch VOAD has become a model for other communities throughout Georgia.
For nearly 40 years, the United Way has been stepping up for our community. This is our opportunity to invest in making a tremendous impact in the lives of our elderly and youth through important Emergency and Health Services, Rehabilitation services and social development. To learn more about the United Way or to give online go to their website www.unitedwaysega.org