End of year reports: United Way celebrates 40 years with more than $250K in support to local programs

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The United Way of Cullman County office, seen Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019 (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – United Way of Cullman County (UWCC) has had a successful 2019. Like many organizations, it operates on a fiscal year instead of a calendar year, but Executive Director Becky Goff was able to share some good news at the end of UWCC’s third quarter.

“(This year) 2019 was a big year for United Way as we celebrated our 40th anniversary, highlighting the volunteers and organizations that helped build the organization,” she said. “We recognized a number of them at our Annual Meeting in May. We had tremendous support at all of our events. We collected more school supplies this year and increased the number of students we were able to get prepared for school. Right up to the end of the year, we helped fill in the gaps for our neighbors, including building ramps, providing emergency resources and even supplying Christmas gifts for local students in our schools system and other families who otherwise didn’t get the help they needed.”

In its current fiscal year (April 2019-March 2020), UWCC is funding 17 programs and organizations at a total of $258,000, which Goff reported as a slight increase over previous years.

Its partner agencies include:

  • 211
  • 4-H Clubs of Cullman County
  • American Red Cross, Cullman Chapter
  • Cullman County Commission on Aging 
  • Cullman Caring for Kids
  • Cullman County Center for the Developmentally Disabled
  • Easter Seals
  • Foster Grandparents
  • Senior Companion Program
  • Girl Scouts
  • Good Samaritan Health Clinic
  • Hope Horses, Inc.
  • Hospice of Cullman County
  • Pilot Light Home
  • Saving Forgotten Warriors
  • Victim Services of Cullman
  • Youth Advocate Program

 

Goff shared, “Our Agencies saw a few changes as well this year, including the closing of the Day Star House; those operations transferred to Victim Services.  They now handle transitional housing for homeless women and children.  We are also excited to report that the Pilot (Light) Home has house parents and has been actively providing foster care services for our community.”

UWCC will begin reviewing agencies and programs for the upcoming funding cycle Jan. 8, and will announce funding for the 2020-21 fiscal year at the end of March. 

Operating budget unchanged for 19 years

Goff told The Tribune, “United Way has maintained its operating budget for the last 19 years at $140,000 and once again saw no increases. While fundraising has been flat over the past few years, the current 2019-20 Campaign is showing some increases in most areas. United Way continues to serve nearly 20,000 Cullman residents, and needs continue to increase. United Way employs two full-time staff and one part-time. Our (IRS Form) 990 is on file and available for review.”

Top fundraising campaigns

UWCC gets much of its funding from fundraising campaigns by local businesses and industries and their employees. Top participants for the 2019-20 campaign include:

  • Publix
  • Walmart
  • Rusken
  • REHAU
  • Topre
  • LP
  • ACYT
  • RWW
  • CRMC
  • McGriff Tire

 

Goff added, “We are thankful to the City (of Cullman), (Cullman) County Commission and the CCCDC (Cullman County Community Development Commission) for appropriations that helped us with our campaign, as well as everyone that supported our events: Stuff the Bus, Day of Caring, Seeing is Believing, Hat Day, Crawfish Boil and Designer Bag Bingo.”

UWCC board members

The UWCC board expanded from 13 to 18 members in 2019, and includes:

Officers

  • Chair Ross West from Merchants Bank 
  • Chair-elect Brad Boshell from Publix
  • Secretary Alex Chaney from Berry, Berry, Little, Brunner & Chaney
  • Treasurer Mark Hestla from Warren Averett
  • Past-chair Steve Moore from Walmart Distribution

 

Members

  • Dusty Baker, Cullman County Commission on Aging
  • Shane Barnette, Cullman County Schools
  • Natalie Caudle, Topre America
  • Philip Cone, WestRock
  • John Dean, Goat Island Brewing
  • Heather Gudger, Southern Accents
  • Jake Johnson, Cullman City Schools
  • Deborah “Pepper” Hoover, Wallace State Community College
  • Jennifer Parker, Payroll Services
  • Ernesto Romero, Rusken Packaging
  • Jana Schroeder, REHAU
  • Seth Thompson, Thompson Law Firm
  • Judy White, Drinkard Development
  • Jeff Williams, Coca-Cola Bottling Company

 

The final word

Goff said, “United Way is community-owned, volunteer-driven and staff-managed. We have the largest network of nonprofits who focus on finding solutions to our communities’ most pressing issues. This is what makes us unique and different from other nonprofit organizations. As we turn the page on 2020, we will continue to fight for everyone in our community to have a chance at a better future. It will take all of us working together, but united, we can and will make a difference.” 

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com