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United Way, Effingham announces 2019 goal
Lisa Saxon
Campaign Chair Lisa Saxon announces the United Way of the Coastal Empire, Effingham’s goal at Effingham College & Career Academy on Sept 11. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

  RINCON — United Way of the Coastal Empire, Effingham’s (UCWE) list of success stories is lengthy. So is its list of needs.

Thousands of Effingham County residents are supported by 46 programs that are funded in part by United Way. These programs prepare children to succeed in school, provide basic needs and financial stability, and empower people into independence.

United Way kicked off its annual effort to fund these programs during Wednesday’s 2019 Effingham Campaign Kickoff at Effingham College & Career Academy. The fund-raising goal is $345,000, $30,000 more than last year.

“This goal is much more than a dollar amount,” Effingham Campaign Chair Lisa Saxon of Reiser & Reiser CPA said. “It is the fate of more than 11,000 individuals and families who are looking to United Way in their time of need.”

UCWE, Effingham Area Director Elizabeth Waters urged the audience to spread the word about her organization and its fund-raising campaign.

“Share our story on social media. Be our raving fan,” she said.

Audience members were given the opportunity to take pamphlets filled with United Way information.

Last year, UCWE, Effingham helped 9,269 people receive supplemental meat, produce and pantry items. It also found safe shelter for 119 women and children who were victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.

Other 2018 UCWE, Effingham accomplishments include:

— 33 women and their dependents with transportation to find or get to work and go to medical appointments or other services

— 675 children attended a quality early childhood program, received after-school academic support or learned leadership and life skills

— $723,380 in prescription savings helped 87 residents live healthier lives

 — $153,000 in Earned Income Tax Credit was returned to the community through volunteer tax preparation.

Thanks to its Pacesetters Campaign, UCWE, Effingham has already raised $90,195. Pacesetters include Renasant Bank, Reiser & Reiser CPA and the Effingham County Board of Education.

Renasant Bank generated $3,933 by selling Byrd’s Cookies and Reiser & Reiser’s seven employees donated $4,600. 

The Effingham County Board of Education, the county’s largest employer, raised $81,662 through its annual competition.

Ebenezer Elementary School was the Caring Cup recipient for having 71 percent of employees participate in the campaign. 

The Chairman’s Award went to the Transportation Department. Its pledge jumped from $1,743 from 16 employees in 2018 to $4,450 from 70 workers in 2019.

With an average donation of $90 per staff member, Rincon Learning Center earned the Generosity Award.

“We’d like to thank each of these companies so much for believing in United Way and setting the example for all of us,” Saxon said.