United Way reports largest fundraising in 5 years
By Jon Hawley
Friday, August 17, 2018
Northeastern North Carolina has a wealth of generous spirits, evidenced by the Albemarle Area United Way on Thursday reporting its highest fundraising in five years.
The 13-county agency raised $305,321 for 2017-18, and gave $187,078 of that to the nonprofits it serves, the local United Way announced during its Campaign Kickoff and Awards Luncheon at the K.E. White Center at Elizabeth City State University.
AAUW Executive Director Bill Blake told the audience 2017-18 marked the first time in five years that the AAUW raised more than $300,000. Both the amounts and numbers of donations were up, he said, adding the AAUW drew about 1,300 donors, up from 1,138 the prior year. The AAUW also recruited more members into its Keel Club, meaning the number of donors who individually gave at least $1,000 rose from 17 to 38.
Blake also pointed to new events and outreach that bolstered fundraising. The AAUW tried out a new signature fundraiser, “Bocce, Beer and Bites,” that drew more support and participating teams than expected. Blake noted that Muddy Waters Coffeehouse is already committed to sponsoring next year's Bocce, Beer and Bites event, which will be limited to 50 teams and held on April 27.
Blake also noted the AAUW's new “Small Biz United” campaign, which businesses can join by donating at least $500. The AAUW provides participating businesses a logo to display in their stores or offices, he said, claiming it helps them attract customers who want to support businesses who give back to the community.
Looking to 2019, Blake said the AAUW intends to surpass this year's fundraising total, and there are good signs that'll happen. Two major, new supporters are the Dare County school system — with its 1,000 employees, he noted — and the Publix supermarket in Kill Devil Hills.
In encouraging donations to the AAUW, Blake said the organization is a “movement” dedicated to helping the community support all its residents in need. In addition to supporting 19 member agencies, such as the Red Cross, the AAUW this year is also working to start the “Community Care Collaborative” that will help people through “temporary crises,” Blake noted.
Blake also reported the AAUW's other 2019 goals include funding additional educational initiatives and promoting use of the “211” phone service.
Thursday's luncheon also allowed the AAUW to recognize exceptional organizations and supporters. Those recognized included the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, named the “Spirit of the Community”; Food Bank of the Albemarle, named “Partner Agency of the Year”; and Biggs Cadillac, honored for its “Spirit of Giving.”
ECSU interim Chancellor Karrie Dixon was the keynote speaker for Thursday's luncheon. In her remarks, she praised the AAUW as the “charity of choice for northeastern North Carolina.”
Dixon also told the audience about good news for ECSU, including new funding for improving campus facilities and growing enrollment. The university is “now on track to bring in the largest freshman class in seven years,” she said.