United Way of Central Alabama’s $10.5M Pacesetter campaign has now begun

This post originally appeared in partnership with Bham Now.

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Bill Connor with Pacesetter Loaned Executives Lizzie French, United Way of Central Alabama and Cleo Crawford, REGIONS (United Way)

On Thursday, June 9, Dr. Mark Sullivan addressed United Way’s 2022 Pacesetter Kickoff campaign breakfast about the effects of COVID-19 on Birmingham City Schools and how United Way of Central Alabama has supported the school system throughout the pandemic. Keep reading to learn how.  

About the Pacesetter Campaign Kickoff 

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2022 Pacesetter Kickoff Flyer (United Way)

United Way’s Pacesetter campaign kickoff serves as a precursor to their primary campaign in the Fall. Local businesses that are a part of United Way’s commitment to the community decide to begin their campaigns early to kick start donations. Last year’s campaign raised $10.3 million dollars.

This year’s goal is $10.5 million dollars.

The Pacesetter campaign makes up a third of the campaign donations overall. Emmett McLean, campaign chair of United Way, expressed his gratitude to the Pacesetter companies for last year’s work. 

The Pacesetter campaign’s funds go towards United Way’s annual campaign which supports programs and community-partnered organizations.

“United Way of Central Alabama improves lives by mobilizing the caring power of our entire community. Our agency alone would not be able to engage all the community stakeholders necessary to successfully support our services. United Way is also a partner in change, working with a broad range of people and organizations to identify and resolve pressing community issues. We are honored that with the United Way’s support, we are able to serve 5,600 individuals with disabilities every year.”

Susan E. Sellers, CEO, United Ability

Dr. Mark Sullivan, Birmingham City School Superintendent

Dr. Mark Sullivan United Way of Central Alabama's $10.5M Pacesetter campaign has now begun
Dr. Mark Sullivan, Birmingham City Schools Superintendent, addresses the audience. (United Way)

United Way and the Birmingham City School system have a partnership through their tutoring program. Dr. Sullivan gave an update on the program to Pacesetter companies and talked about how the program is invaluable. 

United Way and Birmingham City School’s tutoring program partnership

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Bill Connor, Pacesetter Chair, addressed the crowd about the Pacesetter’s campaign goal. (United Way)

In January 2022, United Way and the Birmingham City School system established a project focused on reading literacy for 3rd graders. After the State passed a 3rd-grade literacy legislation, it became essential for schools to focus on reading skills. The school system’s literacy is now six points higher than its post-pandemic score.

“The deficit was there before COVID, so the tutoring program is a really important part of making that gap up and setting them up for success.”

Bill Connor, United Way Pacesetter Chair 

Birmingham City Schools’ response to COVID

“It took everything in my soul to go virtual.” 

Dr. Mark Sullivan, Birmingham City Schools superintendent 

When the Birmingham City School system went virtual due to the pandemic, they discovered numerous pressing issues that included:

  • Lack of internet access, affecting 25% of student households 
  • Food insecurity
  • Mental health challenges

Due to these issues, Dr. Sullivan enacted several initiatives, including:

  • Professional development for teachers to know how to navigate through the online learning curve. 
  • Virtual informational sessions for students’ families so they could learn how to supervise their students’ online work.
  • School-provided meals so students would still be able to eat.

United Starts with You

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United Way’s campaign slogan. (United Way)

Through United Way’s Pacesetter Companies and Loaned Executives, they have been aiding in creating change in different communities and non-profit organizations across the state of Alabama. These companies are essential to the communities in and outside of Central Alabama.

Pacesetter Loaned Executives: 

  • Cleo Crawford – Regions
  • Lizzie French- United Way of Central Alabama

Pacesetter Companies:

  • Alabama Possible  
  • AmFirst Credit Union 
  • Arlington Properties 
  • AutoTec
  • Avadian Credit Union 
  • Barze Taylor Noles Lowther
  • BCBS of Alabama 
  • BioHorizons 
  • Blount County Children’s Center 
  • Byars-Wright 
  • Cory Watson Attorneys
  • Culotta, Scroggins, Hendricks & Gillespie 
  • Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP 
  • Dunn Investment Company 
  • EBSCO (Consumer Subscription Services) 
  • EGS Commercial Real Estate 
  • Encompass Health Corporation 
  • Ernst & Young LLP 
  • First US Bank 
  • Gateway 
  • Graham & Company
  • Hoar Construction LLC
  • Jemison Metals 
  • Kassouf & Co PC
  • Legacy YMCA 
  • Mayer 
  • Navigate Affordable Housing Partners
  • O’Neal Industries 
  • Red Diamond Inc
  • Renasant Bank 
  • Robins & Morton 
  • ServisFirstBank
  • South State Bank
  • The Alabama Baptist 
  • The Arc of Walker County
  • The Collateral Family of Companies 
  • The Sheffield Group Inc 
  • Timberline Management Company 
  • United Ability
  • United Way of Central Alabama 
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • WA Asset Management 
  • Warren Averett, LLC
  • White Plume Technologies
  • YMCA of Greater Birmingham 

Want to get involved in the Birmingham City Schools tutoring program? Contact the United Way of Central Alabama at TutoringPartnership@uwca.org today.