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A letter from our President and CEO, George McCanless

On behalf of our United Way of Central Georgia staff and Board of Trustees, we want to thank each and every one of you that contributed to this year’s campaign.  Last week we announced we set another all-time fundraising record of $5,208,497.  United Way’s campaign is the collective effort of so many generous companies and individuals who give their time, talent and treasure to ensure that our neighbors in Central Georgia have support when they need it. 
 
Our history of serving those in need is rooted deep here in Central Georgia. We are amazed at the generosity of our donors and volunteers that have allowed us to reach this level of support. These dollars will change many lives in our community and help even more individuals and families build the foundation for a good quality of life. This is a great accomplishment, and something our entire region should be proud of.
 
But the euphoria of this achievement is tempered by the recent incidents involving violence and threats against Black people.  We, at United Way of Central Georgia, are outraged and heartbroken by the brutality that led to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery as well as too many other recent acts of racism and violence. 
 
At United Way, diversity, equity and inclusion are woven tightly into our organizational fabric. We believe that to achieve racial equity, we must unite as a society and commit to system change. But while more and more people are aware of the injustice that remains in our society, too many of us are not taking active steps to change racist and discriminatory attitudes and practices. 
 
Last year I had the privilege to attend the United Way network’s national Equity & Inclusion Summit. The first words spoken were that to participate in the discussions to follow, Rule Number One was that we all had to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And I was glad for the heads up, because for the next hours and days, there were many discussions that were very uncomfortable for me. But as with any learning or self-improvement effort, the more I participated and embraced the uncomfortableness, the less uncomfortable those conversations became. 
 
And that is where we feel we are in our community and our country right now. Our society’s silence and inaction on these issues cannot continue.  For us to truly move forward we have to address the prejudices that many of us possess—we all have to embrace being comfortable being uncomfortable for a period of time. But we, and you, can do this. Working together, and united, let us commit to addressing systemic challenges and inequities, healing our community, and putting opportunity in the hands of all Central Georgians.
 
George McCanless
President & CEO
United Way of Central Georgia