Tears of joy and surprise were shed and jaws dropped Saturday night as five area nonprofit agencies were awarded an additional $5,000 each by the Yadkin Valley United Fund at its annual appreciation banquet.
With a goal of $150,000, the United Fund board of directors went into this year’s campaign with high hopes, since the goal has not been met for several years, but when all was said and done, David Steelman, executive director, announced Saturday that the final total as of Friday was $180,118.
“We had a great year,” said Steelman as he and board President Ann Ashman expressed their thanks to the volunteers, donors and board members who ensured the organization surpassed its goal. “A lot of little things have to happen to have a great year.”
Those in attendance at Saturday’s banquet, held at Cedarbrook Country Club, included board members, donors who gave $500 or more, representatives of area companies who led the donation efforts, representatives of several of the agencies receiving funds and those who have given of their time and services throughout the campaign.
Steelman pointed out G&B Energy’s Irons in the Fire golf tournament which generated $15,000 toward the campaign, a grant he secured from Reynolds American for $25,000, as well as special thanks to Century 21 for office space, Brent Kleinheksel and Lodgix.com for website management, artist John Furches for prints which were given as gifts at the banquet, The Tribune and WIFM for helping share the mission and supporting YVUF, the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce for board room space for meetings, and Cynthia Douglas for assisting with accounting.
Eight companies allowed their employees the option for payroll deductions for donations. “Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital got an early start, and the hospital did four times what it did in the past. I think ya’ll had a great impact on getting the ball started,” Steelman told CEO Paul Hammes and the hospital employees in attendance.
He said Weyerhaeuser also hit and broke a record for employee donations and included a corporate donation, as did YadkinBank. MVP contributed double what it had in the past through its candle sale, Steelman added.
At PVH in Jonesville, he said the company matches 50 percent of anything the employees want to donate. “We broke a record at PVH,” Steelman said, noting the company’s total of about $32,000. “A lot of those people don’t make more than $10 to $12 an hour.”
He said he noticed one employee at PVH had designated to donate through payroll deduction $20 each week, which for 52 weeks is more than $1,000. “I asked someone in management if that was correct, and one guy said, ‘Oh yes.’” He explained that the donor, along with another employee at PVH, have been on the receiving end of assistance from three of the agencies which United Fund aids when they were getting their life on track, and they wanted to be able to give back.
Between the annual golf tournament and employees’ payroll deductions, Steelman said G&B Energy’s contributions were near what PVH made. Also, Elkin City Schools allows its employees to opt for payroll deduction, something he hopes more companies will be willing to allow in the next campaign.
Steelman also recognized the 14 restaurants who were part of the Dine Out efforts of which a percentage of patrons bills were donated to the United Fund, and he pointed out that this year’s campaign saw 30 new individuals and businesses given who haven’t in prior years.
After all of the thank yous were shared with businesses and individuals, Steelman asked for the representatives of the five largest agencies assisted by Yadkin Valley United Fund to join he and Ashman at the podium — Elkin Rescue Squad Chief Jeff Whitaker, Mountain Park Rescue Squad Chief Christy Hodges, Cynthia Cothren with The ARK, Heather Macy with Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministry and Hugh Quinn with Grace Clinic.
He announced the finally tally for the campaign of more than $180,000.
“We know the need is great,” said Ashman as she took over and announced the surprise distribution of an additional $5,000 to each of those agencies.
Steelman presented each person with the check and gave them an opportunity to share what service their organization provides for the community. “This does mean a lot to us,” said Macy. “This has been a wonderful opportunity to meet donors and givers and to see you all together. Thank you so much.”
“That’s unbelievable,” said Quinn of the extra funds Grace Clinic will be receiving.
Steelman, as he closed the banquet, reminded everyone that the change collected from the fountain in the parking lot of The Liberty in downtown Elkin is donated to the YVUF, so to be sure when visiting they fill their pockets to throw in the water. He also pointed out, “We don’t have affiliation with the United Way, we are local. Ninety-nine percent of all our money stays right here, and 85 percent of the money gets to these agencies and scholarships.”
Going over goal also is allowing YVUF to put a little extra in its emergency fund for special needs which come up.
“You people made that happen, so thank you for that,” he said of the surprise donation and building the organization’s reserves. “All you people are givers, you give and don’t expect anything back.”
The next fundraising campaign for Yadkin Valley United Fund will be held from mid-August through mid-November, Steelman reported. “I want you to all be a disciple for United Fund,” he said. “I want you to go tell people you work with, people you go to church with, spread the word, be disciples.
“We want it to grow. We want it to be special and be bigger and better.”
For more information on Yadkin Valley United Fund, visit yadkinvalleyunitedfund.org.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.