United Way: For such a time as this

Jan. 25, 2014 at 4:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 24, 2014 at 7:25 p.m.

Today, your United Way community campaign stands at 82 percent of our goal, having raised $812,770. Our work is not yet complete; $1 million is within eyesight. For such a time as this, we work harder and stronger - opening the door for every member in our community and every business to stand up, to be counted and to give back in ways that will influence generations to come.

As the executive director, I work with an outstanding group of volunteers to develop a strategy and implement a game plan to meet multiple organizational goals, including our annual community fundraising target. While our successes have been numerous and our victories monumental, I still worry. Have we been effective in communicating our case for giving? Have we shown the value and importance of every dollar contributed? Have we created opportunities for everyone to participate? It's those sleepless nights thinking of doors yet to open, conversations to have and families to help that drive us to do something greater than ourselves and to be part of the answers that benefit all of us.

Our children deserve a strong start in life, and our seniors should feel secure, energized and enjoying their twilight years. Second chances provide new opportunities, and at some point in life, we are all vulnerable and will need a helping hand. Our efforts as a community have always been about lifting our neighbors and supporting them as we all pursue brighter futures and bigger dreams. That is what it is to live united.

As a community, we have a decision to make. We have $187,229 yet to raise. Will we make our goal? Will businesses and employees who haven't participated take a moment and give? When times get tough, we don't give up; we stand up, and we find ways to stand shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors to give hope for a better tomorrow and the help needed to get there. Will we answer the bell? The bell has rung.

Area companies and thousands of their employees have already answered the call: • DOW Seadrift is the first company in our 66-year history to contribute more than $100,000 to our campaign.

• Caterpillar - 38.7 percent increase for $59,067.

• Citizens Medical Center - 33 percent increase for $42,279.

• Seadrift Coke - 12 percent increase for $25,000.

• Victoria Advocate - 23 percent increase for $12,263.

• Formosa - 16 percent increase for $66,906.

It takes an entire community to make a difference, and we have a responsibility to do our part. Our oil and gas community has an opportunity to make a tremendous impact on the success of our campaign. As a major sector in our local economy, we continue to reach out to oil and gas companies and extend this public invitation to give a corporate gift, to run an employee campaign, to volunteer and become a vibrant part of your United Way community campaign. This year, as in prior years, nine companies have shown their philanthropic spirit. BHP, Hardin Tubular, Warrior Supply, Pegasus Operating, J&J Pipe Supply, Klotzman Exploration, Motion Industries, Victoria Bearing & Industrial Supply and Pryor Sales & Service are the few that stand out among the many oil and gas companies operating in the Golden Crescent. We need your help.

Dan Easton, 2013 campaign chairman eloquently spoke of our hopes and desires and brought focus to our campaign with these words: "I want families in our community to have the things we want for our own families: good jobs with good wages, safe and affordable housing, success for our children and financial stability. Our economy is on the upswing, new businesses have moved into our community, and people want to be part of the solution to make Victoria, DeWitt and Lavaca counties better places to live. This campaign is about joining like-minded individuals, standing shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors to do something positive and be part of the answer."

Throughout the tri-county area, someone who has been through a tough time is standing tall once again. In these communities, Victoria County United Way is giving our children, families and individuals the opportunities they need to move forward. Give generously, volunteer and do something positive to benefit us all.

Clifford Grimes is the executive director of the Victoria County United Way.



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