Changing Lives Doesn’t Happen Overnight: 2021 Campaign Chair Is Here for the Long Haul

You can stick duct tape on your broken bumper, but we know that a quick fix has a short life span before more damage ensues. Long-term solutions carried out by hard-working teams and strong leaders are what alleviate problems. Take it from Doug Coltharp and the staff at United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA).

Coltharp, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Encompass Health Corporation (NYSE: EHC), serves as the 2021 chair of UWCA’s annual campaign. His journey with the organization gives him a well-built perspective of what the organization is here to do and who it serves.

“[UWCA] is enormously forward,” said Coltharp. “We’re always looking around the bend saying, ‘How can we make it better? How can we get ahead of this curve?’ We’re not in the band-aid dispensing business. There’s real strategic planning behind what we do.”

For decades, Coltharp has been on the front row in watching UWCA be in the business of giving hope and changing lives. He transitioned from a United Way donor in his early career to eventually joining the UWCA Executive Committee and becoming chair of the 2015 Pacesetter Campaign.

“I found that if you give yourself over and embrace the opportunity, it’s one of the most rewarding things that you can do. Of course, the staff at UWCA is second to none, and the support that I received was outstanding.”

Doug Coltharp

Coltharp’s experience led him to recognize the wide net of support UWCA casts. He saw how the organization is unique in identifying spaces in the community that lack support and finding resources to fill them. UWCA partners with 80+ non-profit agencies and is dedicated to improving health, education, and financial instability within the community. This is vital to the UWCA’s vision in building a great community and bringing people together to help others.

“What I love is the aggregate of it all — the breadth and depth,” said Coltharp.

Now, as the 2021 chair of UWCA’s Annual Campaign, the mission stays the same, but the messaging will shift. Throughout 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic opened the public’s eyes to an incredible sense of urgency and encouraged community members to respond.

Our neighbors are still recovering and dealing with an onset of new uncertainties, including pre-existing challenges. This year, we must work to heal those problems and the ones exacerbated by the pandemic.

“We’ve got to think about it as a multi-year recovery, requiring a sustained flow of increased support,” said Coltharp. “I think by and large we’re getting a lot of positive response to that.”

That’s why this year’s slogan, “Give Hope. Change Lives.”, is building on last year’s messaging and becomes emblematic of what UWCA hopes to achieve. Progress is an ongoing process, and each campaign helps push us forward.

From sideline supporters to donors and volunteers, your commitment to the community is what will change lives. Thank you for supporting United Way of Central Alabama.