By Tia Lynn Ivey
The sixth Annual United Way Dinner was held at Chophouse Grill in Madison last Monday, bringing in approximately $8000. The final numbers are still being tallied. Local volunteers dressed up as celebrities while serving guests. The money was raised through “tips” given to the celebrity servers and a live auction. About 105 people attended the event.
“This was our most successful celebrity dinner kick-off in six years,” said Judy Malcom, chairperson of the local United Way. “We raised an excess of $8000 for the United Way of Morgan/Greene County.”
“I was very pleased with the generosity of our local merchants who donated gift certificates that went toward our Shop Local basket for Madison and Greensboro. And we are grateful to the other local merchants and businesses who donated items for the auction. Gerald Cathey just did a fantastic job as our auctioneer,” added Malcom.
The United Way Dinner kicks off the organization’s annual fundraising campaign. This year’s goal for the Madison chapter is $45,000. The United Way raises money each year to distribute it among local non-profits. The United Way of Northeast Georgia supports 28 social agencies with funds each year, including the Caring Place right here in Madison.
“The United Way helps these non-profit organization thrive,” said Joe Houston, advisory board member for the United Way. “It provides services to those who need the services, but cannot afford to purchase those services outright. A lot of nonprofits out there struggle to do their own fundraisers to survive. So under the umbrella of the United Way, which has been in existence since 1954 in this area, we make that happen.”
Most of the agencies supported by the United Way of Northeast Georgia are located in and around the Athens-area, including the American Red Cross, Athens Community Council on Aging, Athens Neighborhood Health Center, Community Connection, Extra Special People In Watkinsville, Family Counseling services, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, Hope Haven, Caring Place, Northeast Georgia Boy Scouts, Prevent Child Abuse, Project Adam, Project Safe, and The Cottage, which treats women and family members who are physically or sexually abused.
According to Houston, the United Way helps streamline funding instead of forcing local nonprofits to compete against each other for support.
“It’s a more efficient way to fundraise than being competitive between all 28 agencies,” said Houston. It would be very competitive and disorganized otherwise. The United Way makes it more efficient, more direct and enables more of these nonprofits to exist.”
Even though many of these agencies are located outside of Morgan County, according to Houston, 4,000-5,000 Morgan County residents utilize these social services each year.
“So all the money that we raise here comes back to support the needs of individuals here in Morgan County,” said Houston.