Approximately 150 people joined United Way of Greater Chattanooga in the Silver Ballroom at the Read House Wednesday to learn how the United Way campaign stands at the halftime and how they can help take the campaign "Over the Top" to its ultimate goal. Tom Decosimo, 2013 Campaign for the Common Good Chairman, announced a midway campaign total of $7.2 million.
"A few weeks ago I rappelled down the side of the SunTrust Building, and today I'm standing before you wearing a civil war general's uniform," said Mr. Decosimo. "I'll do anything to make this campaign a success, because our community's well-being depends on it. I've made more than 100 visits, including meetings with CEOs of this area's largest employers, to get this campaign off to a solid start. We've got great results coming in, and we couldn't do it without the efforts of organizations like TVA and the Combined Federal Campaign, city and county government, and companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Roper, Shaw, and Unum. We're doing great, but we've got to do better and win this battle, because the stakes for our community are so high. As the tip of the spear for Education and Stability, United Way isn't raising money, it's investing in creating impact to build a stronger and healthier community for everyone."
Mr. Decosimo noted that while several large campaigns are running at various companies and organizations across the region, these campaigns will not finish until November and December. A large campaign thermometer was unveiled, and Mr. Decosimo noted that the base amount on it, $2.8 million, consisted of endowment income, income from misc. items and events like the Frank McDonald Memorial Golf Tournament, earned income, sponsorships, grants, and foundation gifts.
After Mr. Decosimo’s introduction, 23 campaign reports -- on behalf of 21 Campaign Units -- were presented to the audience from the following: Labor, Healthcare, Financial, Retail, Foundations, Individual and Leadership Giving, Tocqueville, Attorneys, Physicians, Dentists, Accountants, Real Estate and Construction, Technology, Media, Marion County, North Georgia, Nonprofits, Education, Public Sector (City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, and Combined Federal Campaign), Manufacturing and Insurance. These campaign units represent the different business and regional sectors within the community.
During his unit report, Dan Traynor of TVA, 2013 chair for the Combined Federal Campaign, presented United Way with a check for $50,000.
Mike St. Charles, reporting for the Attorneys unit, included in his report that Miller & Martin had increased their United Way giving by 31 percent over last year.
Mr. Decosimo then showed that Wednesday’s total reported total rose to $7.2 million on the campaign thermometer, which is 60 percent of the $12 million stretch goal. As the meeting wrapped up, he then called for key campaign volunteers, including all unit chairs, to commit to raise $250,000 in new money before the end of the campaign. This amount could make the difference in the campaign and lift United Way over its goal.
“This is a great half-way point, but I know the final $5 million will be a hard march to the finish,” said Mr. Decosimo. “But with everyone marching together, I know we can make it.”