Trying to raise $2.5 million in 13 weeks. That was the ambitious goal announced Friday for the United Way of the CSRA’s 2023 campaign.
Business leaders, employees, and volunteers packed the Fellowship Hall at First Baptist Church of Augusta for the annual breakfast kickoff. Some were dressed for the office, but a majority were in work clothes, boots, and tee shirts emblazoned with the campaign’s rallying call, “Together We Can!”
That group was participating in the United Way’s Project Serve Day of Caring Campaign. Immediately after breakfast, they headed out to spend the day working with nonprofit agencies on projects including yardwork, playground construction, and painting.
“Our community is growing and evolving every single day, and along with that, the needs are, too,” said Brittany Burnett, president and CEO of UWCSRA. “So, United Way works really hard to be relevant here in our community, so that we’re meeting the most critical, impactful needs right here for what our neighbors are experiencing today.”
UWCSRA serves 10 counties in Georgia and two communities in South Carolina, providing support to 31 different programs at 19 local agencies across the CSRA.
The numbers show the demand and the assistance provided. The lives of more than 250,000 people were impacted; 18% more people received mental health support; 82% of the people who received workforce training are now employed; 96% of children involved in early childhood learning programs met their developmental milestones.
Much of the crowd listening to Burnett’s presentation were familiar faces, including representatives from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Doctors Hospital, and Georgia Power. But new faces were interspersed in the crowd, including one company not even operating yet.
“We want to be a great business partner, not just for the community, but also for the other businesses that we work with,” said Sherri Bishop, Training Manager for Aurubis. “And we can’t find a better way than getting into the community, working with young people, and educating them.”
Aurubis is building a state-of-the-art recycling and smelting facility in the Augusta Corporate Park off Mike Padgett Highway. It is a $690 million project that will ultimately employ 250 people. Based in Germany, Aurubis recycles copper, precious metals, and non-ferrous materials nationwide.
Burnett said Aurubis is an example of the way service organizations and community involvement make Augusta an attractive place for new businesses to locate.
“We’ve got a new business that’s here today, a large new employer. When they decide to locate here, they want to look at what looks best for their employees also. So, we want to make sure we have a thriving community that has even more industry and more businesses choosing us first,” she said.
Bishop said Aurubis has three pillars upon which it is based, providing education and knowledge, protecting the environment, and community involvement.
“We don’t think there’s a better way than reaching out a hand to help,” she said.