For the few who haven’t heard, the record-breaking major leaguer who is remembered as an All-Star starting pitcher and a bullpen ace within the same 20-year career will deliver the keynote address for the nonprofit on Wednesday, Aug. 15. The launch will be held in the Walker Arena on the Lee University campus. Tickets are $20 each and corporate tables of eight are available for $160.
A certain Hall-of-Fame candidate by anyone’s reckoning, Smoltz is a longtime supporter of United Way. His appearance in our Cleveland and Bradley County community will continue his tradition of speaking on behalf of the organization, and its many member agencies, during his playing years.
But the exciting day is not just about “Smoltzy.”
Although his caregiving perspectives, his stories of baseball past, present and future, and his personal views on supporting United Way will be a guaranteed heart warmer for hundreds in the audience, the day also will belong to a dedicated group of businesses, industries, schools and various organizations that have agreed to set the pace for the coming campaign by serving as Pacesetter or Challenger firms.
What are they?
In a word, they are the heart of every United Way campaign. Their infusion of energy each year jump-starts the autumn fundraising drive through their conducting their internal campaigns early and reporting their total, or partial, results at the luncheon. Traditionally, Pacesetter and Challengers firms account for almost half the local United Way’s contributions.
While Pacesetter firms complete their outreach to employees early, Challenger companies do the same and with one additional commitment. They pledge to increase their contribution amount over the previous year by at least 10 percent. It is not an easy task. Given the complexities of today’s recovering U.S. economy, it is a testament to their convictions toward helping their neighbors through a united approach.
It is by no accident United Way remains among the national nonprofit leaders for lowest administrative costs. The agency prides itself in assuring donors the maximum amount possible of their contributions is going directly to services for Bradley County families most in need. The same expectations are expanded to its more than 20 member agencies, programs and special services.
Over the next few weeks leading into the mid-August kickoff, Pacesetter and Challenger firms will hold their internal drives. Many will invite service recipients and United Way representatives into their work environments to offer testimonials about how United Way has impacted the community and local families — especially during this long, 5-year-old recession.
Yet the tide appears to be turning, if ever so slowly. Many contend our region survived the worst of the fiscal plunge. Regardless of one’s view, our community continues to grow, to build and to rebuild.
Since April 27, 2011, many tornado-ravaged families have worked to regain lives that were tragically disrupted by those storms. In so many cases, United Way has aided in the recovery — whether by direct assistance or through a cooperative partnership with the Long-Term Recovery Organization and other nonprofit groups that continue to work as a team.
Reservations are required to attend the luncheon. Tickets are available by calling United Way at 479-2020, by faxing reservation requests to 339-1110, or by emailing ticket requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets also may be purchased by visiting the United Way website at www.unitedwaybc.com, and clicking on the Campaign Kickoff Luncheon link in the News and Events section.
Reservation deadline is Friday, Aug. 10.
We encourage attendance.
We urge our community’s continued support for United Way.
We ask all to “Live United.”