Goal reached

United Way surpasses $1.9 million goal and celebrates in ESPY-fashion

United Way president and CEO Michelle Hankes and Joe Dawson, one of the chairs of the Leadership Giving committee, get ready to announce the division totals.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

United Way president and CEO Michelle Hankes and Joe Dawson, one of the chairs of the Leadership Giving committee, get ready to announce the division totals.

United Way of Blount County announced its good news in a glamorous fashion with a Victory Celebration lunch that carried the theme of an awards show Friday at First United Methodist Church of Maryville.

The theme was patterned after the ESPY Awards, the ESPN sports cable television awards show. The theme was fitting because this year’s United Way Campaign has carried a sports theme.

The news? United Way of Blount County has met and surpassed it’s fundraising goal of $1.9 million.

Instead of honoring sports figures, the organization honored those who participated in its fall campaign, with all the awards going to campaign chairs and committee heads.

Campaign Chairman Greg Wilson announced that United Way of Blount County was one of the first United Ways in East Tennessee to reach its campaign goal to date.

Wilson said that Blount County had raised for United Way a total of $1,920,998 - which is 1.1 percent over its $1.9 million goal. Wilson recognized a number of people including his campaign cabinet, the United Way board of directors, loaned executives and staff.

“I am extremely humbled and honored, Blount County. You are a wonderful, wonderful team,” he said. “I appreciate all that you have done.”

Close to 200 people attended the United Way celebration as Wilson and his campaign cabinet reported totals for each division.

“Best Break-Through Athlete” Dave Ogle, who chaired Major Firms Division, reported raising $838,750 for the United Way campaign, which was 103.7 percent of his division’s goal.

Commerce Committee chair Joan Jones was awarded the “Best Fighter” award, reporting $241,303 was raised, which was 101 percent of their $238,720 goal.

Jerri McAbee won “Best Track and Field Athlete” by chairing the Industry Division and reporting $182,455 was raised, which was 100.2 percent of their $182,130 goal.

“Best Action Sport Athlete” Kathy Johnson, chairing General Business Division, reported $144,191 was raised.

Melissa Thompson, chairing Public Service Division, was awarded the “Best College Athlete” title and reported $183,622 was raised.

Professionals Division chair Ron German took home the title of “Best Professional Athlete” and reported $114,330 was raised, which was 109 percent of their goal.

“Best Olympic Athlete” Janine Stanine, chairing Special Gifts/Residential Division, reported $166,899 was raised for the United Way campaign.

Leadership Giving received the “Best Championship Performance” and announced that with 295 Pillars gave at the $1,000 or more and 14 Tocqueville Society members gave at $10,000 or more, with total leadership giving coming in at $615,742.

Leadership Giving contributions are received through other divisions of the United Way campaign.

Also recognized were the media sponsors. Blount Today publisher Sherri Gardner Howell, chair of the media and public relations committee, presented awards to Alcoa Inc., Artworks, Aubrey’s, Blount Today, Charter Media, Clayton Homes, The Daily Times, Denso, First Tennessee, Foothills Bank & Trust, Graphic FX, Multi-Media Solutions, ProMedia, Walmart and WATE-TV 6.

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