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United Way raises $1.2 million during 2010 campaign

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- Even though the United Way of Southwest Georgia failed to meet its fundraising goal again this year, officials are hopeful efforts will stay on track.

The organization set a goal of $1.5 million at its campaign kickoff last year. At its annual meeting on Monday, United Way officials announced the organization had raised $1.2 million during its 2010 campaign.

"We did not reach our goal, but the numbers are as they have been the past couple of years," said outgoing United Way Board Chair Lorenzo Keaton.

United Way had the same luck last year, having raised $1.2 million in 2009, $300,000 less than the goal the organization had set.

"We are proud of the $1.2 million and the results it will generate," said Perry Revell of SunTrust Bank, the campaign chair for the 2010 fundraising effort.

The last campaign year marks the first that United Way utilized its "Community Impact" initiative that focuses on four areas -- education, income, health and basic needs -- and measures success through the impact of each.

"Three out of the four have been implemented 100 percent," Keaton said.

A total of $461,665 was given over the past year to area organizations that serve the needs of the public in the four categories, according to United Way's annual report.

The annual meeting also included the passing of the gavel from Keaton to Jim Deal of Albany Communications, who was formerly the vice chair of the organization's board.

"It feels good (to elevate to board chairman)," Deal said. "Albany is a great town, a great community and we care about our citizens.

"(The funds for the upcoming campaign) will come together."

United Way will hold its campaign kickoff in September, at which time the organization will announce a fundraising goal for 2011.

Revell also presented awards at the meeting for fundraising efforts. Publix at Lee Crossing, which opened in August, received the "Best New Campaign Award" for raising $14,000. Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, which had a 60 percent increase in giving from the year before, got the "United Way Caring Connection Award."

The organization also recognized the top corporate community builder campaigns. The top corporate contributors included Publix, Phoebe, Pfizer, UPS, MillerCoors, Dougherty County School System, Albany Electric, SunTrust and Tara Foods.

The top contributor was Procter & Gamble. The top contributing individuals were Jane Willson and Ronnie and Brenda Hinson, who were again recognized as Alexis de Tocqueville society members, which consists of a group of people that has given individual gifts of $10,000 or more.

"Your involvement and the community's involvement is vital to what the United Way does," Revell said during the awards presentation.