The Lake Martin Area United Way topped its lofty fundraising goal for its 2020 campaign.
New campaign director Dr. Chante Ruffin announced the total at Tuesday’s campaign celebration and highlighted where the funds came from.
“The 2020 campaign total was $556,340,” Ruffin said. “Funds came from 115 (local) businesses, three clubs and 10 out of area businesses.”
The total was 4.5% higher than the goal and United Way executive director Sharon Fuller said it was thanks to the Red Feather Society. It is a group that has grown since Fuller became executive director in 2011.
“We had 85 Red Feather Society members then who represented 26% of the total raised,” Fuller said. “This year we have 160 members who contributed $260,633 which is 46.6% of the campaign total.”
Fuller said the Lake Martin Area United Way is the best United Way of its size, besting Lee County because of the Red Feather Society.
The City of Alexander City was the pacesetter of the Roads to a Better Future campaign starting a year ago. It raised $32,000.01 to get the fundraising effort off on the right foot. Russell Lands was the single largest workplace contributor with employees pledging $63,992 to help the 28 agencies. Russell Lands also provided $93,992 of in-kind services to the organization to help raise funds through events like the annual quail fry, which is set for April 3.
Other workplaces helping greatly with the campaign include Russell Medical with $30,552; Russell Brands with $22,491; the Alexander City Board of Education with $18,713; KwangSung at $16,515; Valley Bank at $15,926; Pediatrics Associates $15,596; Morris & Haynes Law Firm at $12,200; River Bank & Trust at $11,140; Tallapoosa Publishers Inc. at $9,506; Sigma Corp. at $7,779; Exelon at $5,672; Tallapoosa County Schools with $5,642; Coosa County Board of Education at $3,590; Alexander City Housing Authority at $3,087 and Central Alabama Community College at $2,888.
United Way also honored Gabby Witherington, Lake Martin Area Dadeville Chamber of Commerce, River Bank & Trust, Vivian Autry, Lake Broadcasting and Tallapoosa Publishers Inc. with Make a Difference awards.
The annual United Way Fashion Show raised $15,737 and last year’s quail fry brought in $13,382.
While the United Way celebrated its ability to help its 28 agencies and the 31,754 lives it touched through those agencies last year, it also honored two individuals who have helped the community.
Main Street Alexander City executive director Stacey Jeffcoat was honored as Volunteer of the Year.
“When she got the job at Main Street, she started to volunteer and hasn’t stopped,” Fuller said.
Last year Sandra Harris was give the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award, an award given out for the second time ever Tuesday night.
Fuller said they had to pull Barbara Willis from the building at Volunteer Connections of Central Alabama (VCCA) where she spends much of her time volunteering to help others.
“We had to get her to leave her taxes behind to come here,” Fuller said.
Willis has been volunteering at VCCA helping people with their income taxes for decades and the same goes for her volunteer service at Russell Medical and Flint Hill United Methodist Church.
Outgoing Lake Martin Area United Way president James Dodwell said his arm was put “in a chicken wing” to become a board member years ago but it was a great decision and encouraged new board members to serve their community.
“I didn’t realize how those years would affect my life and heart,” Dodwell said. “I want to thank you for making the right choice to join. This is a great United Way team and serves the community well.”