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United Way tops $1M mark for first time

By Sonny Long
May 21, 2013 at 12:21 a.m.
Updated May 22, 2013 at 12:22 a.m.


VOLUNTEER LEADERS

The 2012 Victoria County United Way Campaign Leadership Team included the following volunteers with responsibilities for key segments that led to the first $1 million fundraising total.

• Campaign Events, Chair

Margaret Carver, First Victoria National Bank

• Loaned Executive, chair

Jessica Dodds, Gulf Bend Center

• Pacesetter & New Business Initiative, chair

Bruce E. Woods, State Farm Insurance

• Direct Mail Division, chair

LuAnn O'Connor, Coldwell Banker-Ron Brown Co.

• Top 25, co-chairs

Russell Janecka, Janecka Insurance; Gary Worsham, Wells Fargo Bank

• Professional Division, co-chairs

Sarah Korczynski, Re/Max Land & Homes; Sandra DeLaGarza, Wells Fargo Bank

• Large Business Division, chair

David Edwards, Wells Fargo Bank

• Small Business Division, chair

Caleb Staudt, First Victoria National Bank

• Oil & Gas Division, chair

Tom Stocker, Wells Fargo Bank

• Public Service & Education Division, chair

Jeb Lacy, Victoria County

CLIMB TO THE SUMMIT

A 10-year history of the fundraising totals for the Victoria County United Way.

• 2012-13 - $1,016,516

• 2011-12 - $902,560

• 2010 - $854,880

• 2009 - $820,819

• 2008 - $859,976

• 2007 - $840,896

• 2006 - $752,663

• 2005 - $618,073

• 2004 - $750,000

• 2003 - $725,000

When Clifford Grimes took over as executive director of the Victoria County United Way four years ago, he was asked about someday raising $1 million during the annual fund drive.

He replied cautiously, taking a wait-and-see approach.

"One million dollars sounds nice. We'll see what we can do," Grimes said in the May 2009 interview.

That day has arrived.

The 2012-13 campaign raised a record $1,016,516, according to a news release from the Victoria County United Way.

"This has been a remarkable and historic campaign in a difficult year in our county," said campaign chair Geri Schroeder, senior vice president at Prosperity Bank.

"Considering this is United Way's 65th year serving the Victoria County community, this is an amazing achievement."

During the campaign, United Way began new strategies that led to the campaign's success, according to the news release.

"Our fundraising goal this year was $926,000," said Grimes. "The team focused their efforts to provide outstanding customer support to the Chairman's Circle Companies, to educate donors about the impact of their gift in Victoria County and starting new campaigns to target businesses of all sizes that have never conducted a United Way campaign.

"The new strategies combined with Caterpillar's gift of $25,000 propelled United Way not only to hit our campaign goal, but to reach the million-dollar mark in three years, beating the long-term goal of achieving a $1 million campaign in five years."

Among the companies that had a United Way campaign for the first time were KBR, Keen Transport, C&M Enterprises, Centric Group, CoBank, Fluor Foundation, and Securities America.

Allocations to member agencies that have applied for grants will be announced in June, said Grimes.

Community volunteers drive this and every United Way campaign, Schroeder said.

"The true heart and soul of this campaign has been the volunteers," she said.

"Whether it was the individuals helping to run company campaigns or the many community leaders serving in leadership roles, none of this would be possible without their tremendous support and dedication."

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