United Way: At halfway, campaign gets close to halfway home

The United Way of Blount County is almost halfway to its $1.9 million goal, and campaign chair John Hinkle said the community will push them to victory by the Nov. 20 victory celebration.

Campaign supporters gathered Oct. 1 at the Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson & Buell dealership and enjoyed lunch in the “The Shed” before Hinkle and his cabinet announced totals raised and pledged at the half-way point.

To date, Hinkle and his team have raised $845,929 for the United Way of Blount County campaign, which is 45 percent of the campaign’s goal.

“We’re almost halfway there, and our cabinet volunteers are extremely confident we will celebrate our campaign victory on Nov. 20,” Hinkle said. “I appreciate your support. We are going to meet our goal.”

At the luncheon, campaign cabinet chairs or co-chairs shared their totals raised thus far.

Major Firms Division, chaired by Lea Anne Law, has raised $467,724, which is 57.8 percent of their $809,905 goal.

Commerce Division, chaired by Brenda Pilson, has raised $83,562, which is 36.2 percent of their $231,095 goal.

Industry Division, chaired by Kathy Johnson, has raised $26,371, which is 15.3 percent of their $171,880 goal.

General Business Division, chaired Matthew Bryan, has raised $49,505, which is 32.4 percent of their $152,600 goal.

Public Service Division, chaired by Betsy Cunningham, has raised $61,142, which is 30.9 percent of their $197,825 goal.

The Public Service Hamburger Luncheon, led by Circuit Court Clerk Tom Hatcher, grossed more than $10,500. “It continues to gain excitement every year,” said Cunningham of the event.

Professional Division, chaired by David Cockrill, has raised $58,268, which is 48.2 percent of its $120,950 goal.

Special Gifts/Residential Division, chaired by Becky Swann, has raised $53,566, which is 31.3 percent of its goal of $170,900.

United Way Backroads Ride co-chair Jim Ford said the second annual event raised $3,800.

Virginia Hardwick chairs the Pillars Society for United Way of Blount County, and she reported Leadership Giving is going well. Total leadership giving is at $228,024. The Pillars Society has raised $218,024 with 124 members, including four new members as of mid-campaign. The Pillars Society includes any individual or household contributing $1,000 or more to the United Way campaign. The Tocqueville Society, chaired by Kevin Clayton, has raised $10,000. The Tocqueville Society includes any individual or household contributing $10,000 or more to the United Way campaign. All leadership giving contributions are credited through their appropriate divisions in the United Way campaign.

Hinkle reminded the crowd that United Way has several special events planned for the month of October, including an “Evening with Bruce Pearl” on Thursday, Oct. 15, at 6:30 p.m. at Royal Oaks Event Facility.

General admission tickets for the Bruce Pearl event are $35, and VIP reception tickets are $100. VIP’s may attend an exclusive meet and greet session with Pearl at 6 p.m.

“There are only a few of the VIP tickets left,” Hinkle said. “They are going fast, and we only had a total of 30 of those.”

Hinkle also reminded the crowd of Gas Day on Friday, Oct. 23, at area E-Z Stop, KenJo Markets, Mr. Gas Food Mart and On-the-Run Market locations as well as the Village Market in Townsend.

Volunteers will pump gas and clean windshields for tips as contributions to United Way, and a portion of all gas sales at those locations will be donated to the organization as well.

To purchase tickets to the Bruce Pearl event or to volunteer for Gas Day, contact United Way of Blount County at 865-982-2251 or stop by their offices at 1615 E Broadway Ave, Maryville, during normal business hours.

After the lunch, Hinkle said he is continually impressed by the attitudes of his campaign cabinet members and all the volunteers. “It’s really gone great. I’m amazed at the energy the cabinet has and all the support United Way has,” he said. “We expect to finish our campaign on time. Blount County always steps up and supports United Way.”

For more information or to give to United Way, visit www.liveunitedblount.org or call 865-982-2251.

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