The United Way of Central Georgia (UWCG) hopes to raise more than $5 million for the third time in its history and break a new fundraising record to support 29 community agencies and program initiatives.
UWCG Campaign Chair Larry Brumley announced the $5.1 million target today before more than 400 people at Mercer University’s Hawkins Arena. Last year UWCG raised $5.04 million, breaking the fundraising mark set two years earlier.
"We can reach this goal. I'm counting on it," said Brumley, senior vice president and chief of staff at Mercer. "I'm confident that, one by one, we can work together to improve lives for our children and the thousands of fellow citizens that need our support." Brumley referred to the UWCG’s new campaign theme: OneXOne
UWCG officials also announced the Board of Trustee’s new strategic plan: Disrupt the cycle of family poverty in Central Georgia. UWCG President and CEO George McCanless talked about the good jobs coming into the Central Georgia area but juxtaposed that news with recent reports showing high rates of poverty in Macon-Bibb County and surrounding communities.
"This isn't a short battle, it isn't an easy battle and it's not one ... where you can readily see the successes," McCanless said about the focus on poverty. "But it's a fight that needs to be fought."
McCanless quoted a verse in the Bible during his speech: "Let us not become weary in doing good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up."
Guest speaker Danny Gibson, president of MetroPower, picked up on this to exhort the audience to give.
"So much accomplished. So much good. And yet, so much to do. We cannot grow weary,” said Gibson, who is an Alexis de Tocqueville Society donor to UWCG.
The keynote speaker was Carmen Agra Deedy, an author of eleven books for children, whose work has made the New York Times best-seller list. Deedy, a Cuban refugee who grew up in Decatur, Georgia, talked about fighting poverty.
“It is a monumental task. Where does it begin?” Deedy asked the audience. Then she answered: “I’m a firm believer in the power of one.”
After the kickoff event, Deedy traveled to Springdale Elementary School where she read to second-grade students and gave away two of her books, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach and The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet, to the children and their teachers.