United Fund campaign at 90 percent of $515,000 goal

By Jessica Johnson

March 9, 2014

With another round of winter weather moving into the area on Thursday night, the cold and snowy wind blowing outside did not dampen the warm hearts and spirits of those in attendance at the annual United Fund End of Campaign Celebration and Awards Dinner, held at Cross Creek Country Club.

The campaign has taken in $460,000, or 90 percent of the $515,000 goal, and hopes are high for meeting the goal by the March 31 deadline. Money is raised through individual and corporate donations, as well as fundraisers like the Downtown Rocks and Runs 5K and concert.

United Fund Executive Director Beth Pequeno thanked everyone for supporting the campaign throughout the year: “Without you, our 26 member agencies could not do the work they do. People would be without electricity, without food, children would go hungry, families would be in need of counseling. All you do truly makes a difference in our community.”

Campaign Chairman Ron Sutphin awarded the Pat Woltz Way-to-Glow Award — which is given to the employee campaign displaying the most creativity — to Renfro Corp., with the largest campaign, raising more than $80,000.

“That is absolutely enormous, and amazing, that even in this tough economic time, they are giving so generously. Their distribution center had 100 percent employee participation…the key to a successful campaign is that it starts from the top. When the executive leadership buys in to what it’s all about, you have success,” Sutphin said.

Emma Jean Tucker was recognized for serving as the board president, and the new campaign chair was announced as Peter Pequano, chief lending officer with Surrey Bank and Trust.

Brack Llewellyn, director of Surry Senior Centers, expressed his thanks and said that the senior center “serves the whole person and to do so requires funding and through the generosity of United Fund we can make that happen more vigorously and more strongly than we ever have before.”

“To everyone who has ever given to United Fund in this room and out there in the greater community, thank you. Writing a check is a fairly benign act, but that stroke of the pen lights a spark that blazes bright in all these organizations. You are not just contributing to a good cause, you are touching lives, saving lives, and that is a profound and truly rare opportunity, so be proud of that.’”

Hometown Heroes awards, for 100 percent employee participation and increases in giving, were awarded to Astro Pneumatics, BB&T Blue Ridge Burke, Rogers Realty, Surrey Bank and Trust, Workforce Carolina, and the Renfro Corp. Distribution Center. Samet, Payne, Wood & Horton & Co. were recognized for 89 percent participation, Renfro Corp. for 82 percent employee participation, and BB&T for 76 percent employee participation.

Awards for outstanding increases in giving went to Andrew Pearson Design, up 388 percent; Pilot Mountain Town Government, up 238 percent; Surry Friends of Youth, up 148 percent; Flat Rock Elementary, up 130 percent; Mount Airy City Government and Fire Department, up 105 percent; Gentry Middle School, up 75 percent; Mount Airy Police Dept., up 72 percent; and Astro Pneumatics, up 72 percent.

More awards for outstanding giving increases were given to Mount Airy City’s Public Services Administration, Franklin Elementary, Mountain Park Elementary, Mount Airy Parks and Recreation Dept., Petroleum Transport Company, Wells Fargo, Leonard Building & Truck Accessories, Pro Technologies, Copeland Elementary, Pilot Mountain Middle, Dobson Elementary, James H Wells Dentistry, Surry Central High School, First Presbyterian church, East Surry High School, Mount Airy High School, and Samet, Payne, Wood & Horton & Company.

Board members for 2013-14 included President Emma Jean Tucker, Vice President Dr. Greg Little, Treasurer Chris Bunting, Campaign Chair Ron Sutphin, Amy Bledsoe, Tina Johnson, Gary Bowman, John Halsey, Laura Brim, Walt Broom, Jeanna Read, Shawn Watson, Jeannette Carter, and Allison Poteat.

United Fund Member Agencies

United Fund provides funding and support for 26 member agencies — in the areas of crisis agencies, senior agencies, medical services, and family and youth services — allowing the agencies to serve the community instead of spending a lot of time raising funds.

In addition, United Fund of Surry pays for 2-1-1 services for the residents of Surry County, and in 2012 the system identified 1,065 calls from Surry County.

United Fund accepts donations year-round, and all donations made before March 31 will go toward the campaign, which has reached 90 percent of its goal of $515,000. To donate to United Fund, visit the website at Donations may be earmarked for a specific agency or category, such as family and youth, medical, crisis, or senior.

Reach Jessica Johnson at 719-1933 and on Twitter @MountAiryJess.