Every year, United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) kicks off its fundraising season with the Pacesetter campaign, during which a variety of area companies that share our commitment to the community step up and start the ball rolling. The campaign is spearheaded by the Pacesetter chair, a position filled by one of UWCA’s many passionate volunteers and donors.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Pacesetter campaign is more important than ever before, as this year’s Pacesetter chair Joe Hampton, President of Alabama, Gulf Coast and Mississippi at Spire, Inc., noted.
“Many of our friends and family members are facing challenges they’ve never faced before,” he said.
Hampton, who grew up in Birmingham, learned the importance of giving back at a young age.
“When my siblings and I were kids, my mom and dad would always say, ‘It’s our responsibility, when we make it, to help out those who have less than we do,’” he said. “That was something instilled in us from the beginning.”
It was during this same time, without realizing it, that Hampton’s relationship with United Way began through longtime partner agency A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club. “I spent a lot of time at the A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club, especially during the summer,” said Hampton. “It was important for me as a child – building relationships and spending time with mentors.”
It wasn’t until beginning his career with Spire Inc. (then Alabama Gas Company) that Hampton realized that the opportunity for those formative experiences at the A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club were made possible in large part by United Way of Central Alabama.
“Spire has always been a huge supporter of United Way, so right off the bat, it was important to me,” said Hampton. “One thing that Spire always stresses is being involved in community and civic organizations. We want our leaders to be engaged.”
Hampton is a prime example of an engaged leader. During his career with Spire, he estimates he has moved seven times; and at every stop, he has been involved with the local United Way. Here at UWCA, he has served on Visiting Allocations Teams, as well as on the Board of Directors. His involvement is rooted in his strong belief that, with the help of our donors and volunteers, United Way makes hope happen.
“United Way is about providing hope,” said Hampton. “Whether it’s tutoring kids, delivering Meals on Wheels or supporting people through financial awareness programs, United Way creates opportunities for every person in our community, and that’s hope.”