United Way of Lincoln County hosted its annual meeting Thursday evening, recognizing local community leaders, businesses and corporations that have supported the nonprofit over the last year through service, volunteer work and financial contributions.
While the organization failed to meet its campaign goal of $375,000 for the 2013-14 fiscal year — an amount $25,000 higher than the campaign goal the previous year, Executive Director Kathy Vinzant said — United Way celebrated a figure just $35,000 shy of the target amount, at $339,000.
Vinzant shed tears of appreciation as she addressed her crowd of peers, thanking them for their continued dedication and support, knowing that without the financial donations of large-scale companies such as Timken, Duke Energy, the City of Lincolnton and Carolina Trust Bank, to name a few, the nonprofit would have little, if any, funding to meet the needs of so many in the community.
“Where would Lincoln County be without you?” she said.
Known as “Pacesetters,” the companies, typically ones with larger annual spending budgets, commence United Way campaigning each year in order to motivate and propel smaller local businesses, and also citizens, to give financially.
Rita Heath, director of respiratory care at Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln, may be a resident of Mecklenburg County but is committed to giving back to her county of employment.
“Mecklenburg has a lot of resources,” she said, “but I feel like I should give back to the county where I work.”
More than a dozen member agencies pull money from the United Way and rely on the organization to assist them in a variety of ways such as helping abused children, domestic violence victims, Boy Scouts, developmentally-delayed adults, physically ill citizens and so many other needy individuals, often forgotten by society.
United Way board member, Dr. Elaine Jenkins, former Lincoln County Schools superintendent and one of 12 to 13 individuals who comprise the volunteer board, has worked with the organization for years, truly believing it makes a difference in Lincoln County.
“This United Way works hard to address community needs,” she said. “We work hard to raise as much money as we can.”
She went on to describe her appreciation for Vinzant alone.
“There’s nobody with a bigger heart for human need than Kathy,” Elaine Jenkins said.
Following special music from Board Member, Dr. Steve Austin, of Austin Orthodontics in Lincolnton, and an invocation from Pastor Mike Collins, with Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Lincolnton, Board Member Dr. Jim Watson, former Lincoln County Schools superintendent and current Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, motivated the crowd with discussion on continuing to expand Lincoln County’s citizen population and volume of businesses and organizations willing to work together for the common good of all.
Watson praised the volunteer businesses, corporations and individuals who, through giving to United Way, are already doing their part to build a positive future for Lincoln County and its people, assisting the agencies and smaller nonprofits that rely on the local chapter to play a role in keeping each of their facilities’ doors open from year-to-year.
During an award celebration, United Way officials recognized a number of last year’s supporters.
For the first year in United Way history, the organization handed out “The Cristina Arlow Award,” named after a former board member, now deceased, who spent much time serving the nonprofit, Vinzant said.
The award was given to an individual — Allocation Chair and Board Member Marissa Smith — who reflected a spirit and attitude for United Way similar in nature to Arlow’s.
“You can find this lady planting flowers at the United Way office, improving the allocation process, decorating for events and cooking,” Elaine Jenkins said of Smith.
Vinzant was particularly proud of one special award, “The Governor’s Volunteer Service Award,” given for the first time, since the honor was established, to a recipient in Lincoln County.
The Timken Company received the prestigious GVS Award along with “The Corporate Champion Award.” Timken Operations Manager, Ken Guerrin, also accepted the United Way “Campaign Chair Award,” given for a workplace campaign chair who displayed “participation, determination and enthusiam…during the entire length of the campaign,” United Way Board Chair, Bill Lampley, said.
Additional award recipient for the 2013-14 fiscal year included the following:
Leadership Award (company with the highest number of leadership contributions per capita and largest total contribution): Duke Energy
Eagle Award (company or organization with the greatest increase in employee giving from the previous year): CMC-Lincoln, Carolina Trust Bank and Wells Fargo.
Tocqueville Award (membership into Tocqueville Society by contributing at least $10,000): Brew and Jacqueline Barron
Elliot Beal Award (person who has gone above and beyond one’s call of service and dedication): Bill Lampley
School Award (demonstrated 10 percent increase since last year’s campaign, 50 percent or more campaign participation by employees, 10 percent increase in average employee contribution amount and sponsored a special activity to encourage additional giving): Love Memorial Elementary and North Lincoln High School (special recognition for increasing campaign contributions by $1,000 from previous year: S. Ray Lower, Battleground and Northbrook Elementary Schools)
Pacesetter of the Year Award (raises the first dollars toward UW campaign goal by going above and beyond): CMC-Lincoln
Spirit Award (company or organization that implements new ideas, incentives, a contest and a heaping dose of spirit to the workplace to improve the outcome of the workplace compaign): Lincoln County Schools
United Way Teen Board Award: Victoria Barger
Media Recognition Award: Wayne Howard, Lincoln Herald