The year 2020 has been unlike any other. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of our lives, altering everything from how we socialize and celebrate to how we do our jobs. Our community has faced unprecedented hardships, but we’ve also seen the amazing impact we can have when we come together to make hope happen for those in need. In fact, even during these uncertain times, compassionately generous donors allowed United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) to surpass our campaign goal by committing $36 million in pledges to support our direct services and network of more than 100 partner agencies and programs.
“We had unbelievable support,” said Greg King, 2020 Campaign Chair. “We asked [donors] to dig deep, and [they] did, not only by renewing commitments but also by increasing gifts.”
Donors answered the call, helping UWCA surpass our goal by a record breaking $1.5 million – a greater overage than any other campaign in our 97-year history. These numbers are notable not only because of their size but also because this was the first UWCA campaign to be held on a primarily virtual basis. To help with this new landscape of fundraising, we relied, as usual, on help from a team of Loaned Executives (LEs) who worked with companies throughout Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties. One of these LEs was David Goodwin, the Community Executive for American Red Cross of Alabama (a UWCA partner agency), who brought almost 20 years of fundraising experience to the campaign.
“Red Cross knew how crucial UWCA’s campaign was in a year like 2020, and how important it was for us to set an example,” said Goodwin. “We’re proud to be a part of UWCA’s network and our community as a whole.”
Kaitlin Krueger, an LE on loan from longtime UWCA supporter Brasfield & Gorrie, shared similar sentiments. “I am proud of how many people stepped up,” she said. “We are a generous community that gives back.”
Krueger excelled in the program, helping build and grow relationships with partner companies to raise an impressive $981,479 for the campaign. In recognition of her dedication and diligence, she was awarded the Crawford T. Johnson Loaned Executive of the Year award.
As Krueger said, Birmingham is one of the most generous communities in the country; and consequently, UWCA consistently ranks among the nation’s top United Ways. But our donors’ generosity isn’t limited just to financial contributions — they also donate their time. Volunteers, both from the companies conducting campaigns and the community as a whole, play a crucial role in every campaign, and 2020 was no different. Each year, UWCA presents the Mervyn H. Sterne Memorial Award to an outstanding volunteer. The award commemorates Mr. Sterne, a dedicated volunteer who led UWCA’s 1931 campaign in the throes of the Great Depression. This year, the award was given to Charlie and Lisa Miller, the 2020 chairs of UWCA’s Tocqueville Society. Under their leadership, the Tocqueville Society gained 108 new members and were responsible for about a third of the campaign total.”
At United Way, we have the belief that we are a community asset — owned by the community, led by volunteers and managed by staff,” said Drew Langloh, President and CEO of UWCA. “I’m humbled by everyone that came together to lend their time, talent and treasures during a time when it’s not easy to do and the needs of the community are incredibly great.”
This year has challenged us in unimaginable ways, but our community has shown that when we LIVE UNITED, hope happens!