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United Way kicks off fundraising campaign
United Way
Effingham County cheerleaders Abby Hunter and Alyssa Furlong (left) fire up the audience at the Clarence E. Morgan Complex on Sept. 14. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD  — United Way of the Coastal Empire supporters in Effingham County kicked off the TEAM UNITED 2022 Fall Campaign with a pep rally-themed luncheon on Sept. 14 in the Clarence E. Morgan Complex’s gymnasium.

“United Way plays an important role and improves lives throughout our region and here in Effingham County, said 2022 Effingham County Campaign Chair LaMeisha Hunter-Kelly. “We are thrilled to come together to celebrate our pacesetters and volunteers to kick off this year’s campaign. It takes all of us coming together to make a difference and we need everyone to get in the game this year.”

Hunter-Kelly, executive director of Strategic Business Development and Government Affairs at Effingham Health System, has adopted the title “Coach” for her role in this year’s campaign in keeping with the “Team United” theme of the 2022 United Way Campaign.

During the event, United Way-Effingham County shared news of a new community service award to honor the late Clarence E. Morgan. Morgan, who was a veteran educator and long-time coach in Effingham County, passed away at the age of 75 earlier this year. The recreational facility was named in his honor.

Additionally, United Way announced the Pacesetters Campaign results totaling $389,436. This year’s Pacesetters include: Effingham Board of Education, Reiser & Reiser, and Shaw Industries. Effingham Board of Education was the top contributor, raising more than $106,000. These businesses agreed to kickstart the Campaign by running early and ambitious employee-giving campaigns.

The program began at 11:30 a.m. with a “pre-game” check-in capturing a tailgating atmosphere. The pep rally-style program begin at noon with a special presentation from United Way of the Coastal Empire Campaign Vice Chair Jay Wilson and a keynote speech by Hunter-Kelly. The event was free and open to the public with lunch served from Southern Kafe on Highway 17.

The 2022 United Way of the Coastal Empire Campaign Chair Cindy Robinett of Sterling Seacrest Pritchard invited everyone to get in the game and become an active member of Team United this year. 

“We all have a shared responsibility to take care of our community,” Robinett said. “From cheerleading to raising my family to the founding of our company, my life has always been about teamwork. The same is true for United Way. It takes all of us coming together to support the great work of this organization and improve lives across our four-county region. By living here in our region — Bryan, Chatham, Effingham or Liberty County, you are already part of the team. We need everyone to get in the game by supporting the United Way Community Fund this year.”

The 2022 campaign goals are:

1. Help more people

2. Get more people to help by giving

3. Raise more for the United Way Community Fund

“Our mission is to improve lives,” Robinett said.