United Way Campaign Picking up Steam!

October 13, 2009

Midlands Companies step up in time of need

Pacesetter campaigns display tremendous generosity despite economic challenges

COLUMBIA, SC – October 6, 2009  – The 2009-2010 United Way Campaign has officially kicked off, and thanks largely to Pacesetter companies, has exceeded all expectations. On the strength of the 56 Pacesetter companies who agreed to run their United Way campaigns before the official kickoff on September 9, the entire campaign thus far has brought in over $4.5 million, accounting for 45% of the overall $10.2 million goal.

We’re very encouraged by the level of support we’ve seen across the community already this campaign season, said Mac Bennett, President and CEO of United Way of the Midlands. We’ve had Pacesetter companies like BlueCross BlueShield and Colonial Life step up their contributions and participation, and we’ve also seen a great deal of volunteering from places like UPS and KeenanSuggs.

A perfect example of an organization stepping up in a time of need is BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Their employee campaign officially ended on Friday, September 18 and raised almost $1.7 million, an increase of almost $200,000 compared to last year. That’s a new record for the company and puts it among the top two campaigns in the state along with Savannah River Site.

Once again, our employees have responded to the increasing needs in our community with their record-breaking support of the United Way campaign. As one of the largest employers and companies in the state, BlueCross already has a significant and positive economic effect on the Midlands and other communities. I am extremely proud to have our employees extend that impact by make personal donations of their time, talents and money to organizations and individuals served through the United Way, said Edward Sellers, CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

BlueCross BlueShield, like many employers running United Way campaigns thus far, have seen an increase employee participation. BlueCross was up to 85% participation in the Midlands this year compared to 80% last year. Ann Castro, VP, Chief Design Architect with BlueCross BlueShield, was in charge of the United Way campaign this year.

I have been blessed to work with the most generous group of people for our corporate United Way Campaign, said Castro. I thought that taking this challenge would be daunting, especially as we face uncertainty in health care reform and our companies are facing some serious potential contract losses.  What I found was an enthusiastic team of employees ready to beat the odds and focus on what we needed to do for our community and quite possibly our own coworkers.  They came through with another record breaking year.

If you would like to run a workplace campaign, call Mike Gray at United Way of the Midlands at 803.733.5422. You can also contribute online at uway.org.

About United Way of the Midlands

United Way of the Midlands is the most organized, efficient and accountable system for investing in the community. With more than 80 certified partner agencies, United Way works to identify and respond to the critical human service needs of Calhoun, Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties. Funds are raised through workplace campaigns, grant writing and individual donations. For more information, please visit www.uway.org.