Board Transitions, Annual Meeting

UWR held their annual meeting at Grace Episcopal Church on Thursday, February 22, 2018 highlighting accomplishment in the 2016-17 fiscal years.  Representatives from 16 of our 18 funded agencies made short presentations about the impact of UWR funding to their clients during 2017.  Six outgoing board members were honored and four new board members were introduced along with the UWR Board Officers for 2018.  A copy of the 2016-17 Annual Report is available here [put link].

Retiring Board Members:  Suzanne Gardner (3 years) Barbara Rowe (3 years), Michael Smitka (6 years), Margy Werling (6 years) David Zwart (1 year)

 Continuing Board Members:  Kelly Fujiwara, Janet Lemmer, Holt Merchant, John Murphy, Debbie Pollard, Joe Skovira

 New Board Members:  Malcolm Brownlee, Scott Jefferies, George Pryde, Dale Raymond

Officers and Executive Committee:  President – Holt Merchant, Vice-President – Janet Lemmer, Secretary – Kelly Fujiwara, Treasurer – Debbie Pollard, At-Large – Joe Skovira, At-Large – George Pryde

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President’s Message Annual Meeting 2018

As President of United Way of Rockbridge, I reflect on the past year as a time of strategic planning for the future. I have had the support of a wonderful executive director and a talented, enthusiastic, and determined Board of Directors who work with me to make our community a better place to live.

We have continued to review and update our policies with thoughts to long range organizational sustainment. Additionally we explored and tested new approaches that target our fundraising campaign to specific audiences. Through this we are attempting to appeal more directly to younger donors and newcomers in the area, and to increase the membership of our honored General’s Club.  When this current campaign ends we’ll have some concept of the level of our success.

During the past year we funded significant community successes. We provided grant monies that allowed twenty-two programs to be carried out by eighteen different local agencies. Many of these success stories are detailed further in this report.

The UWR recognizes its strength is in the partnerships we can build. To that end we began holding board meetings at some of our agency locations to gain a better understanding of their organization and how we can assist. We hope to participate even more in this manner moving forward.

The United Way of Rockbridge also received a very substantial bequest from the estate of two long time and supportive donors.  This bequest equaled a typical year of fundraising for us. We have spent considerable time reflecting, discussing, analyzing, brainstorming, and researching the best use of this significant donation. To honor Ellen Charske and Marge and Chuck Phillips, we know we must make a strong and healthy decision.

I look forward with trepidation because I know the needs of our community are many and pressing. We’re unsure of what the new tax law may mean for us in our fundraising efforts going forward, but we do know we will continue to work diligently to fulfill our mission.

Holt Merchant, UWR Board President, February 22, 2018

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United Way Invites Applications for CY2019 Funding

Contact: Patte Wood director@unitedwayrockbridgeva.org

The United Way of Rockbridge (UWR) announces its annual funding allocation process for the calendar year 2019.  Application packets will be issued to all of UWR’s currently funded agencies.  UWR also encourages other community-based, not-for-profit organizations that provide health, education (especially early childhood education), welfare, and social services to the residents of Buena Vista, Lexington and/or the greater Rockbridge County to inquire about funding applications and the allocation process.

To request an application packet please contact UWR Executive Director Patte Wood at (540) 463-4482 or email director@unitedwayrockbridgeva.org.  The UWR office is located at 218 South Main Street, P.O. Box 1094, Lexington 24450.  Completed applications are to be returned to UWR no later than 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 28.

In addition to safety-net agencies that serve to support the health and welfare of our residents, UWR is looking to support agencies that have programs and projects related to the UWR community impact initiative of strengthening education, beginning with early childhood, and making sure that every child has an opportunity to succeed in school and to develop into a well-informed, responsible citizen. Agencies are encouraged to strengthen their applications by demonstrating efforts and submitting programs that support early childhood initiatives within our community.

Volunteer UWR community reviewers will visit applicant agencies in March and the UWR Allocations Committee will review applications and reviewer recommendations in April.  Their recommendations for 2019 funding allocations will be submitted to the UWR Board of Directors, which will act on the recommendations at its April meeting.

As part of the review process, each applicant organization will be visited and reviewed by representatives of the community.  UWR invites citizens interested in serving as community reviewers of applications to contact the United Way office.

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Creating a Community Where Everyone Can Thrive!

goalchart1Thank you to all the donors who have stepped up and contributed during our 2017-18 Annual Campaign.  With your help, we will be able to help local agencies make an impact in our community.

We are currently at 90% of our goal of $250,000 but need more help to reach our goal.

While the tax laws are changing regarding itemizing contributions, the need still exists for charitable giving, support for safety-net agencies by national, state, and local governments continue to erode.  Please consider a gift when you receive your tax refund to continue our mission of Local People Meeting Local Needs.

Use the DONATE NOW button on the right or send a check to P.O. Box 1094, Lexington, VA 24450.

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Community Wide Book Drive-Great Success!

Thank you to everyone who supported United Way’s literacy initiative by donating children’s books, and to all the agencies who are eager to care for our community’s needs! As a result of the book drive this past fall, United Way collected over 500 children’s books.

Since the book drive, United Way has been helping increase the accessibility of children’s reading material by distributing books on Mountain Day in October and by contacting agencies that have high needs for children’s books. This past week, children’s books from the drive were distributed to Rockbridge Area Relief Association, where the books will be displayed on a bookshelf for children to take home for free. United Way is in the process of distributing books to other agencies according to their needs.

donate books

Gloria, Dolly and Lyz display books donated by members of the Maury River Senior Center

MtnDay books1

A family chooses books at Mountain Day

RARA books

Books waiting for children at RARA

Literacy is a skill that is essential for educational success, so our community is helping grow beginning readers.

Read the original UWR Book Drive article here.

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2017-18 Annual Appeal Launches September 18

bookdriveBook Drive –  Monday September 18 through Saturday September 30

United Way of Rockbridge is excited to announce that the 2017-18 Annual Appeal will launch on September 18 with a Community Wide Book Drive.  Some 18 local businesses and organizations volunteered to be drop-off locations for gently used or new books for ages 0 to 3rd grade. We will distribute these as part of our early childhood literacy project.

General’s Club Reception – Tuesday, September 19 at Kendal

The annual Generals Club will be 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm at Kendal Hall by invitation. For information and RSVPs email Patte Wood, Executive Director.

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A Day in K at Hulls Drive-in

In calendar year 2016, 18 local agencies received funding for 22 projects.  United Way of Rockbridge helps your dollars stretch farther and impact families and organizations in big ways.  Our biggest accomplishment was the second annual A DAY IN K event held at Hull’s Drive-in on April 6, 2017.  Organized by UWR and the three local school districts and supported by Lee Hi and Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital.  Over 100 families with children about to enter Kindergarten were able to learn about their next adventure in life.  They were greeted by teachers, principals, fire, police, and rescue personnel, explored exhibits on  nutrition, the RRL bookmobile, and were able to climb into and sit in a school bus.  Each family received information and each child received a brand new book to take home.  The families then watched a short film on the kindergarten experience produced by W&L students and “You Are A Good Man Charlie Brown.”  A great time was had by all.

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