United Way leaders
These companies or organizations were recognized Thursday as being top contributors to the United Way’s 2011 fundraising campaign:
Publix Supermarkets: $222,160
Northeast Georgia Health System: $141,452
Cargill Inc.: $121,386
Fieldale Farms Corp.: $88,047
Wrigley Manufacturing Co.: $80,618
Hall County school system: $73,031
Schreiber Foods Inc.: $45,948
Wilheit Packaging: $41,912
Conditioned Air Systems: $37,291
Source: United Way of Hall County
United Way of Hall County topped its 2011 fundraising goal of $1.8 million by $8,110, officials announced Thursday at the organization’s annual celebration.
Brian Daniel, the campaign’s chairman, announced the amount with the help an artist, Josh Powell, who was sketching images of the United Way campaign, as well as the luncheon, on a wide canvas.
Some 180 area companies contributed, with Publix Supermarkets recognized for donating $222,160, the most of any donor.
“Thanks to all of you for giving, advocating, volunteering this past year,” Daniel told the large audience at the Georgia Mountains Center Theater. “Your support has been felt throughout the campaign, and your effort will be felt throughout this community.”
United Way, based at 527 Oak St., Gainesville, is a nonprofit organization that helps provide funding to 16 service agencies throughout the community, with much of that money coming from employee contributions, particularly through payroll deduction.
Volunteers also were recognized as part of Thursday’s event.
“This is a day that my staff and I look forward to every year,” said Jackie Wallace, United Way president. “It’s a culmination of all of our efforts from the past year, and it’s a time to celebrate our community for truly living united.”
This year’s campaign theme was “Live it,” a charge to allow giving “to become a fabric of who you are every single day,” Wallace said.
“When that happens, our mission becomes no longer words on a page, but it becomes reality lived out through our community.”
Darrell Snyder, chairman of United Way’s board of directors, spoke to that point, as well.
“Many of the people we come in contact with each day think they are up against impossible odds,” he said. “The things that you do, whether they’re big or small, you may never know the impact they have on those people’s lives, but they truly can make a difference.”
In the past year, many of the United Way’s service agencies “saw a much increased demand for their services, as you might expect in a difficult economy,” Snyder said. United Way teamed up with North Georgia Community Foundation to set up the Unmet Needs Response Fund, “which helped to focus on individuals and families with the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing,” he said.
That effort resulted in the awarding of $52,325 to 21 organizations, “another amazing impact on our community,” Snyder added.
Speaking after the event, Wallace said United Way officials “will start meeting very soon to (develop) a strategy for next year’s campaign.”
Philip Wilheit Jr., chairman of the 2012 campaign, tipped his hat to Snyder on his efforts this past year.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said during the luncheon. “I have some very big shoes to fill, as (Snyder) did an amazing job in a very tough economy.”