Campaign Coordinators Reflect On Their Work During the Annual Campaign

United Way changes lives—join their Annual Campaign to spread the impact

This post originally appeared in partnership with Bham Now.

UWCA Annual Campaign - volunteers at MLK Pavilion
O’Neal Steel team members partnered with UWCA to rebuild the MLK Pavilion. Photo via Ryan Campbell

The United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) Annual Campaign has officially begun. Not sure what the campaign is? It’s an annual drive to support UWCA, the agency that makes a huge difference in our communities.

Volunteers and businesses throughout Central Alabama will do their part to make the campaign a success. Keep reading to see how the “Give Hope, Change Lives” campaign will impact everyone in Central Alabama—from participants to beneficiaries.

Give Hope, Change Lives

United Way launches “Give Hope Change Lives” annual campaign
The UWCA Annual Campaign Kickoff was a huge success. Photo via Tira Davis for Bham Now

The name of the 2021 UWCA Annual Campaign truly sums up what UWCA is all about: “Give hope, change lives”. Whenever you give to UWCA, you’re supporting an agency that brings out the best in Central Alabama.

During the UWCA Annual Campaign, campaign coordinators from different businesses throughout Central Alabama come together to spread the word. Every campaign coordinator has their own United Way story—whether their loved ones have received help in the past or they’ve seen the impact firsthand in their own communities.

For two campaign coordinators, JaKeta Williams of Alabama Power Company and Ryan Campbell of O’Neal Steel, supporting UWCA is one way they make an impact in their community.

“United Way’s bevy of initiatives and partner agencies is far reaching and comprehensive. UWCA supports so many organizations that are close to my heart. Because of its reach, United Way has the ability to multiply my gift to benefit so many in need. I believe that we all have a United Way story even if it isn’t readily apparent.”

JaKeta Williams, Financial Analyst, Alabama Power Company

If you’re familiar with UWCA, you know how much they do for the six-county region they cover. The UWCA financially supports 80+ partner agencies. Each agency goes through a strong vetting process to make sure they meet people’s needs.

No matter what cause you’re passionate about, UWCA will give back to a partner agency related to it.

Working with UWCA to make communities stronger

United Way of Central Alabama
Entrance to the United Way of Central Alabama offices in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Local company O’Neal Steel and the UWCA were both founded in the 1920s, and they’ve had a partnership as far back as they can document. For Ryan Campbell, an HR Business Partner at O’Neal Steel, working as the co-chair of last year’s campaign amplified his passion for the agency.

“It was when I was selected to be the co-chair of the 2020 campaign that I got to see all United Way has to offer to our community. Once I was able to see the depth of their impact, I knew I was hooked. United Way is an organization that is run by community members who have a proximity and a connection to the needs they are working to meet.”

Ryan Campbell, HR Business Partner, O’Neal Steel

In preparation for the campaign, the included businesses and volunteers host energetic activities to spread the message of UWCA’s impact. From weekly trivia and raffles to team volunteer events, it all goes back to helping the agency that has done so much for our community.

“Each year, we work in step with the staff at UWCA to help raise awareness of the great work done in our communities.  The partnership with UWCA allows us to serve our communities to make them stronger.”

JaKeta Williams, Financial Analyst, Alabama Power Company

The UWCA Annual Campaign changes Birmingham for the better

UWCA Annual Campaign
UWCA supporters invest their time in their communities. Photo via Ryan Campbell

Words can’t sum up exactly how important UWCA is, but Ryan paints a beautiful picture:

“It means having a real-world impact in the neighborhoods we live and work in. It’s having a place of hope and healing for those who are in need. It means one more single parent putting food on the table, one more veteran finding shelter, and one more student receiving the educational assistance they need to be successful.”

Ryan Campbell, HR Business Partner, O’Neal Steel

Senior Vice President of Resource Development at UWCA John Martin helps lead teams of passionate people like JaKeta and Ryan every year. He knows without them the campaign would not be such a success.  

“JaKeta, Ryan and the hundreds of campaign coordinators in Central Alabama embody the United Way spirit to Give, Advocate, and Volunteer. The time and talent they pour into the effort as volunteers is above and beyond their work responsibilities.  As advocates, they share the stories of those in need throughout their community. And ultimately, they inspire hundreds and thousands of their coworkers to give generously to advance our mission to care for the community.”

John Martin, Senior Vice President of Resource Development, UWCA