United Way makes final push for $7 million

ajjohnson@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 13, 2013 

United Way President and CEO Scott Ferguson speaks during Thursday's 2013 United Way campaign kickoff at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center in August.

JOE PAULL — jpaull@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

With Christmas just around the corner, the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley is making one final push to reach its $7 million goal for the 2013 campaign.

The organization held its final report meeting Friday at the Goodwill Opportunity Center, announcing that it had reached about 89 percent of the goal. The amount was more than the 88 percent reached this time last year, according to Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor, chair of this year’s campaign.

Those in attendance included the campaign’s cabinet members and loaned executives who have been raising the money through various corporations. They all reported the amount raised at individual businesses, including those still struggling to meet their goals.

The report meeting was the final one before February when a Thank You event will be held to announce the total amount of money raised.

Companies that exceeded their goals include West Georgia Eye Care, Columbus Water Works, PCI, Snyder’s Lance, TSYS, Johnson Controls, Eastman Kodak, Cott Beverage, Georgia and Alabama Power, according to information released by the United Way.

On Friday, Taylor told the group that $6.2 million had been raised so far, but the Christmas season poses many challenges. “It seems like every year when we do this campaign, we have to break for Christmas and then when we come back it’s hard to wrap up,” he said.

Based on the numbers released Friday, Taylor said the campaign is projected to fall $3,400 short. He said some companies were still ratcheting up their campaigns, and he is confidant the money will be raised. “At some point we’re going to find $3,000,” he said. “I feel good about it.”

The United Way also hopes to raise money through a new Rx discount card program, which offers up 75 percent in savings when purchasing prescription drugs, the organization announced this week. Under the program, United Way will receive a donation for each prescription filled. In addition to prescription drug discounts, the card offers discounts on dental, vision, hearing, veterinary services, diabetic equipment and supplies, lab and imaging services, as well as discounts on most pet prescriptions. Cards can be obtained at the United Way office, 1100 Fifth Ave., or by logging onto unitedwayofthecv.org.

Taylor compared the campaign to an election where every vote counts.

“People think their votes don’t count,” he said. “Several of my friends, including John Darr in Columbus, only won by 100 votes. So, if you think your vote doesn’t count, watch the elections. If you think that dollar doesn’t count, watch our projections because they go up and down every single day. That one dollar will put us over that $3,000 that we’re short.”

Taylor said after the meeting he believes donors will be generous in the remaining weeks, just as they have been in the past.

“We’re a community that doesn’t have a large number of people like some other cities,” he said. “But we always find a way to come through and take care of the needs of our community.” Those who want to contribute can call 706-327-3255, visit the website, or send donations by mail to P.O. Box 1157, Columbus, Ga., 31902.

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