In 1923, Crawford T. Johnson, Sr. chaired the first annual campaign for what is now United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) and raised $450,000. In this historic year, on September 7th, UWCA kicked off its 100th annual campaign at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. We reflected on the remarkable journey of UWCA and the countless lives positively impacted during the past century while looking forward with optimism toward the next 100 years. And we announced a campaign goal of $37 million to go toward continuing our mission of building a stronger community for us all.
A full house of more than 300 heard inspirational words from Letitia Means and Phillip Richards, who both shared how United Way has impacted their lives in meaningful ways. Letitia explained how her son, affectionately called her “gentle giant,” was diagnosed as autistic 19 years ago. United Ability, a UWCA partner agency, taught him job skills, helped him create a resume and assisted him with applying for jobs. “Beyond this,” she said, “they gave him the courage to go out on his own. So, when he came to me and said he wanted to be a security guard, he applied himself and got the job.”
Phillip shared how his daughter, who was adopted as an infant and then diagnosed with an incurable condition, is unable to care for herself but has received wonderful assistance from the Arc of Walker County, also a UWCA partner agency. He said his greatest fear is who will take care of his daughter when he and his wife are gone, but he takes great comfort in knowing that it will be a United Way agency. “When someone like you gives,” he said, “you’re helping someone like me.”
Be inspired by watching Letitia and Phillip’s full stories here.
Dow Briggs, MD, 2023 Campaign Chair and Executive Vice President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, addressed the audience saying, “One hundred years ago, individuals like you came together around the community table that is now called United Way to provide help and hope to all who need it. From my view, while the needs have evolved, our work is the same today as it was then. The needs are many, but each dollar that we raise will make a tangible difference in someone’s life, extending a helping hand when it’s needed the most.”
You can join UWCA in making life better for everyone. Learn more about how to get involved in the campaign and the importance of collective impact here.
To live better, we must LIVE UNITED. United starts with YOU.