United Way kicks off annual fundraising campaign

Matthew Lane • Sep 19, 2019 at 8:30 PM

KINGSPORT — The United Way of Greater Kingsport is well on its way to reaching its $3.5 million fundraising goal this year.

The nonprofit organization held a campaign kickoff Thursday morning at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, announcing that the United Way pacesetters have already raised more than $1.98 million. Pacesetters are companies and organizations that run workplace campaigns prior to the kickoff of the public campaign.

“It’s a great kick start and let’s keep the momentum going,” Brent Mullins, the vice-chair of the 2019 fundraising campaign, said to the group of supporters on Thursday.

The United Way’s annual fundraising campaign runs from mid-August through late November. Dollars raised through the campaign stay in the greater Kingsport area and go to support 41 programs and 30 member agencies. These agencies sustain positive impacts on the health, education, and financial stability of everyone within our community.

“When you think about giving to the United Way and how it impacts our community, I hope you’ll think about the people out there who have needs,” said Michelle Bacon, the chair of the 2019 fundraising campaign.

The $3.5 million goal is a challenge, Bacon admits, but it’s one the United Way and its volunteers are up for.

During Thursday’s kickoff, United Way officials also presented Roy Harmon with the 2019 Live United award for his and his wife Liza’s support of the organization over the years. Roy, who has been giving to the United Way since he was 22 years old, told a story of how he first came to know about the nonprofit organization.

“My first job I was making $12,000 a year, and I was asked to give $500. That was a big pill to swallow, but I knew that I needed to give. I learned the importance of giving through being told to give,” Harmon said, which drew some laughter from the crowd. “Keep in mind the influence you have by asking people to be a part of the United Way. You can’t get there by hope. That’s not a good strategy. Someone has to ask.”

Individuals, companies, or organizations interested in learning more about United Way’s work are encouraged to visit www.uwaykpt.org.

Contributions may be made directly to the organization by mailing a check to UWGK, 301 Louis St., Suite 201, Kingsport, TN 37660. Easy to give online options are also available at www.uwaykpt.org/give. For more information, call the United Way at (423) 378-3409, ext. 14.