Third-grade students in Christie Tyndall’s classroom at Butler Avenue School sat quietly on the floor Tuesday morning, a Kindle Fire in hand, reading from a list of books that have been downloaded for the students to use.
Thanks to money given to CAFE, Clinton Area Foundation for Education, from United Way of Sampson County, these students have a piece of the latest technology that only enhances the quality education they are already receiving.
“These Kindle Fire tablets truly make learning more fun,” Tyndall said.
United Way is working to advance the common good by focusing on education, income and health. The goal is to develop the best opportunities for youth, busy working adults and seniors.
The 2016 campaign for the United Way of Sampson County has set a goal of $175,000, plus an additional $25,000 to celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary.
According to Nancy Carr, executive director for Sampson County’s United Way, last year’s campaign was a huge success, bringing in more than the set goal. Approximately $188,000 was collected through the backing of local donors and a successful fundraising feast, all funds that remain in Sampson County.
“The money raised in Sampson County stays here to improve the quality of life for residents living in our county,” Carr noted.
United Way works with 11 partner agencies in Sampson County, including CAFE, which works to enhance the quality of education students receive by providing mini grants to city school teachers for educational projects not funded by the Board of Education.
“United Way’s financial support of CAFE really helps multiply the impact we are able to have within the school system,” Michael Pope, president of CAFE, said. “Our focus is on funding long-term and high impact teacher grants, and because all money received is channeled directly back into the classrooms, they allow us to better affect and improve the learning and development of our students. There is no doubt that their support of CAFE leads to the betterment of this community.”
According to Carr, 97 percent of what is raised each year is dispersed among the 11 partner agencies supported through United Way. While more money might leave local communities under other UW chapters, that is not the case with Sampson’s. Carr attested that out of all money raised, a mere 3 percent is used for the group’s license, print materials, office space and miscellaneous expenses.
The rest goes right back into the community.
“We’re very proud of that,” Carr asserted. “Some other United Ways can’t say that. We’re here to help our county.”
Carr credited several of the organization’s “pacesetters” with getting the 2016 campaign started right. Among them are Smithfield-Farmland, Sampson County Schools, Clinton City Schools and Prestage. Each of the pacesetters are working to collect funds for the campaign, but their official totals haven’t been determined.
Carr said the perception by some is that money raised here goes elsewhere. That could not be further from the truth, she said, with United Way officials stressing to everyone that money raised locally stays local.
The Kindle Fires purchased for Butler Avenue are just one of the examples of how the money is used locally. The Harrells Community Center received a mini grant for $2,500 to purchase sewing machines for seniors.
In addition to CAFE, current partner agencies with United Way are Boy Scouts of America Tuscarora Council, Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, Enlighten the World Ministries, Girl Scouts-North Carolina Coastal Plains, Sampson County Child Advocacy Center, Sampson County 4-H, Sampson County Fireman’s Association, Sampson County Friends of Education, Special Olympics Sampson County and Wheelchair Ramp Program.
For some of these agencies, the money received through United Way is the only source of funding for the organization, which must be a non-profit organization.
It is important that everyone know just how much money goes back into the community, Carr noted, with United Way members volunteering time and engaging in new initiatives in a continuing effort to keep costs down and overhead at a minimum.
“Being part of United Way of Sampson County means being a part of improving our community, and we recognize that we can do that best if we live united,” Shawn Purvis, United Way president, said. “The challenges we face in our community can sometimes seem overwhelming, and they surely would be if tackled alone.”
Some agencies have been turned down due to the fact they do not meet United Way’s guidelines. For any group, whether selected as a partner agency or not, the United Way reaches out to give them tips and assistance as much as they can.
Assistance is available to non-profit, 501-C3, non religions affiliated organizations who qualify to become a partner agency.
For more information, contact the United Way of Sampson County at 910-592-4263 or visit www.unitedwaysampson.org. The application is available online by visiting www.unitedwaysampson.org and visiting the Agency Resources tab.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.