Thursday marks the kick off of the 2015 campaign for the United Way of Sampson County, having already raised 40 percent of its $175,000 goal.
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 $178,000 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.
The organization started last year’s campaign at its highest amount for the beginning of any campaign. When last year’s campaign kicked off, there was already 80 percent of the goal met.
“Last year was a great year, but we believe this year is going to be even better,” Carr said.
According to Dottie McCullen, co-chair for the campaign, last year’s funds were the largest the organization had ever done.
“This is probably the best we’ve done in several years,” McCullen remarked about the 2014 campaign. “It seems like more people are giving to us. I think it’s important to note, and I say this over and over again, but 97 percent of what we raise stays right here in this county.”
While more money might leave local communities under other UW chapters, that is not the case with Sampson’s. McCullen has been with the local United Way for 18 years, and attested that is what has kept her involved. 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,” McCullen 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 2015 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.
“We’re off to a great start,” said Carr. “Our pacesetters have done wonderfully. That’s why we’re at 40 percent. Between our pacesetters doing an outstanding job and increasing (donations) across the board this year, it has enabled us to really get a jump-start. We’re excited.”
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.
In all, the United Way of Sampson County has 12 partner agencies.
Current partner agencies with United Way are Boy Scouts of America Tuscarora Council, Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, Clinton Area Foundation for Education, Delta Sigma Theta, Fitness Renaissance Program, 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, they funds they are given through United Way are 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.
“We are very excited to kick off our annual United Way Campaign,” Sherrill Allen, president of the United Way board, said. “It is a blessing to be a part of a community that gives so unselfishly of themselves in order that we may help our neighbor and improve the community with gifts from United Way.”
According to Allen, through generous giving, the organization was able to bring back Special Olympics, which he says is remarkable.
“I am thankful and proud to be a part of United Way,” Allen said. “I live United by being a part of an organization with a vision that is clear and bright as we are truly committed to lending a helping hand. I would like to thank you for all that you do to help us carry out our vision. We could not do it without you.”
An application workshop will be held Oct. 22 at City Hall to assist interested applicants in the application process. Applications are due Jan. 5 and agency presentations will take place Jan. 220-21, with allocations tentatively scheduled to be announced Feb. 15.
“There are many other great programs that touch our entire community,” Allen said. “Please keep in mind that as we enter this year’s application cycle, we offer guidance, complete with a workshop to ensure your funding requests are properly presented.”
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.