Wed, April 24, 2024

United Way falls $300,000 short of workplace fundraising goals

Augustans are known as generous people, but perhaps, our volatile economy caused a downturn in giving in 2023.

The agency received donations totaling just over $2.2 million through the workplace campaign.

That is 12% shy of the goal of $2.5 million announced last August.

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The United Way of the CSRA (UWCSRA) shared these campaign results at its annual meeting on March 5.

The highlight of this annual event is to acknowledge and thank the businesses and individuals responsible for the successes.

The Campaign Champion Awards were presented to Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and Southern Nuclear. Each one contributed more than $200,000 to the fundraising event.

Other awards included Rookie of the Year to Aurubis Richmond, currently under construction in the Augusta Corporate Park off Mike Padgett Highway. Regions was named the Rising Star. Creative Impact honors went to Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate and Club Car received the Double Impact award.

Seven individuals were nominated for the Alvin Vogtle Volunteer of the Year award, so named to honor volunteers going above and beyond in serving their community.

The 2023 honoree was Shawn Hargis-Rhodes, of the Richmond County Marshal’s Office, for her tireless work on behalf of vulnerable populations.

“Shawn has been working with nonprofit organizations for more than 20 years,” said Patrick Martino of Southern Nuclear Operating Company, who presented the award. “Additionally, she is involved with CSRA Economic Opportunity and was an integral part of starting up the district attorney’s Crimes Against the Vulnerable and Elderly (CAVE) office.”

Brittany Burnett, President and CEO, said the $2.2 Million in fundraising is just a portion of the agency’s overall impact.

“When you add that to the other programs that we’ve got at United Way, including the Empty Stocking fund, Lyft and many, many others collectively, that has an impact of over $5.2 million for residents here in the CSRA.”

One of the most impactful has been the partnership with Lyft to provide transportation to individuals without a vehicle.

It began in 2021 and provided about 400 rides. That jumped to 751 the following year. By late 2023, through a partnership with Augusta-Richmond County Transit, The Community Foundation for the CSRA and the Biden-Harris Administration, the total number of rides provided ballooned to 9,400.

“That program provides short term ride solutions to residents in our community who need to get to their place of employment. Maybe they need to go to job interviews. Maybe they need to get to school, a food pantry or other basic services, “she said.

Looking ahead to 2024, Burnett told ABD one of the biggest goals is to engage new workplaces.

“We’ve got a lot of new businesses that are coming online. We’ve got a lot of shifting of ownership,” she explained. “And sometimes, that worries us when there’s a shift in ownership or maybe some companies don’t view philanthropy the same way as some existing Augusta based organizations. So, we want to get into more workplaces. Talk more about the work we’re doing and invite more people to join us.

She said the 2024 campaign will kick off on August 23.

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