United Way of Central Alabama celebrated its 2016 accomplishments while looking towards the future at its recent annual meeting with the UWCA Board of Directors and members of partner agencies and community leaders, with more than 200 people in attendance.
The annual meeting is traditionally a time to thank the outgoing chairman of the board and welcome the chairman for the upcoming year. Sam Tortorici is the CEO of Cadence Bank and was chairman for 2015-2016. The new chairman of the board elected through 2018 is Mark A. Crosswhite, the president and CEO of Alabama Power Company.
“Our 2017 leadership team continues to position our United Way to set goals, to build partnerships, to improve health, education and financial stability and access to services for those in need,” Tortorici said. “I’ve seen firsthand the quality of the team and the volunteers and the great stewardship of how they handle all the financial affairs is really amazing. It proves the heart of this community is really much bigger than its population.”
Tortorici and Drew Langloh, president and CEO of UWCA, gave an overview of 2016 and goals moving forward.
The meeting was also an opportunity to highlight the success of the 2016 fundraising campaign, which supports more than 80 partner agencies serving individuals and families in Jefferson, Shelby, Walker, Blount and St. Clair counties. In 2016 United Way exceeded the fundraising goal by raising $39,000,612 with the help of more than 55,000 donors and volunteers and more than 1,200 organizations running campaigns. Rich J. Beilen, president and CEO with Protective Life Corporation served as campaign chairman. Beilen was presented with an award for his commitment and dedication to reaching the 2016 campaign goal.
“I want to thank everyone for the opportunity to serve as the campaign chair for the 2016 campaign,” Beilen said. “This award really represents as a community made up of individuals who did their part, with one goal in mind. And that is changing and improving lives. We can be proud to celebrate together the incredible results that we achieved.”
The meeting was also a chance to highlight the continued progress of the Bold Goals Coalition,a community-based initiative composed of more than 200 companies and organizations that seeks to align efforts and address disparities in the areas of education, financial stability and health in the Central Alabama region.
Aside from meeting its fundraising campaign goal, United Way had many other things to celebrate from 2016. Some highlights include:
- The United Way Free Tax Preparation program helped 3,265 people file their taxes, saving an estimated $653,000 in preparation fees with $2,478,625 in total refunds
- United Way’s Bold Goals Education partnered with Alabama Possible to help raise completion rates of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which has been linked with higher college attendance rates. In 2016, 5,970 students completed the FAFSA, an increase of 642 students.
- United Way was awarded the contract by the state of Alabama to administer the Area Agency on Aging of Jefferson County as well as the Meals on Wheels program. Meals on Wheels provides more than 700 meals to homebound seniors each day.
- United Way was ranked one of the Top 10 of charities receiving consecutive 4-star ratings for sound fiscal management by Charity Navigator.
- Priority Veteran housed 730 homeless veterans.
- United Way was chosen as one of Birmingham’s Most Admired companies for 2016 by the Birmingham Business Journal.
Also present at the meeting were the winners of the 2016 United Way Social Media Challenge. Five teams from four different colleges were asked to design and implement a social media campaign to coincide with United Way’s fall fundraising campaign. Over the course of two months the teams were tasked with raising awareness and bring in new donations. The winning team was the University of Montevallo’s “Falcon Five.” The team, which consisted of Matt Crowson, Madden Saverse, Taylor Teems, Mollie Wyatt and Emme Long got the opportunity to present an outline of their campaign to the Board of Directors at the meeting.
Community leaders elected to the Board of Directors are:
- Greg Curran, chairman of Maynard, Cooper & Gate
- Chief A.C. Roper, Chief of Police for the Birmingham Police Department
- Andrea Smith, CEO of the Birmingham Market for BBVA Compass
There are also two new additions to the Executive Committee.
- John Owen, Senior EVP/Head of Corporate Banking Group for Regions Financial Corporation.
- Tracey Morant Adams, EVP-Small Business and Community Development Director for Renasant Bank. Adams previously served on the Board of Directors.