By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Our Views: United Way's big birthday haul
Hall agency celebrates 60th year by topping fundraising goal
Placeholder Image

The United Way of Hall County celebrated its 60th birthday this year with one of its best years ever.

At luncheon Wednesday, fundraising campaign organizers announced the group set a record this year with its annual campaign. The 2007 campaign raised $2,074,170, more than $4,000 above the goal set last summer. This despite the constant reports of a shaky housing industry, rising gas prices and a credit crisis.

That's a far cry from 1948, when the organization was created under the moniker Hall County Community Chest, and group Chairman Lester Hosch raised $17,000. Shortly after that, City Ice became the first local business to encourage its employees to give to the organization by having a donation taken out of their paychecks.

Today, some 157 local companies give about $1 million through employee donations, accounting for about half the amount raised by the local United Way chapter each year.

"We did rise to the occasion, and I can't thank you enough for the investment you've made in the community," Roz Hudson, 2007 campaign chairwoman for United Way of Hall County, told volunteers and company representatives at a luncheon last week. "It's a testament to the very generous community we have here, and the commitment our community has to the health of our community."

But the credit also goes to those of you who filled out the form to give part of your paycheck to the United Way, whether $1 or $100 per paycheck. Your $1 gift may not seem like a lot - and it wouldn't be on its own - but combined with $1 donations from hundreds of employees, it makes a difference. And, it goes to a very worthy cause dedicated to improving the lives of many in Hall County.

Though the name has changed, today's organization remains committed to the original mission: To improve lives by uniting the people, organizations and resources in our community resulting in a stronger, safer and healthier Hall County.

The United Way accomplishes that by supporting 18 agencies and programs which help a cross section of Hall County, from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to help for those affected by domestic violence, illiteracy and disabilities. You may even find yourself or a loved one served by a United Way organization one day through Challenged Child and Friends, the Northeast Georgia chapter of the American Red Cross or the Guest House.

But the United Way doesn't just throw money around to local agencies, however deserving. United Way volunteers spend some 1,000 hours making sure that funded groups not only are using donations wisely, but getting results with their programs and initiatives. They also evaluate every agency considered for United Way funding or as a partner agency.

Didn't give to this year's fundraising campaign through your employer? The United Way also accepts contributions throughout the year on its Web site, There also is information on the Web site about the advantages of an employee contribution campaign that you can give to your boss if your company doesn't participate. The Web site also features information about making noncash donations such as stocks or a bequest.

And, of course, you always can donate time as a volunteer for the United Way.

If you did give this year, the thousands of people served through United Way agencies thank you. And make sure to continue your gift next year. After all, tough economic times often mean an increase in the need for the services provided by the organizations and programs supported through the United Way of Hall County.