The Yadkin Valley United Fund announced Saturday night its far surpassed its $170,000 fundraising goal for the 2016-17 campaign, as it thanked donors and others who contributed to the success of this year’s efforts. With money still trickling in, a final amount of $196,013 was raised by tri-county residents and businesses.
David Steelman, executive director of YVUF, said during the evening’s donor appreciation banquet held at Cedarbrook Country Club that “the key is a lot of people giving a little bit.”
He mentioned all of the donors who gave $500 or more, the honorees of the banquet, and noted that they along with those who gave $200 or more will be the recipients of a John Furches’ print called “Harvest Time.” Next year will be the last year of the special Furches prints, said Steelman.
The money raised through United Fund, which is gained through payroll deductions at various area companies, individual and business donations, fundraisers such as golf tournaments, the Dine Out during which area restaurants donate a percentage of the day’s proceeds, and other fundraising efforts, supports 26 tri-county agencies and three scholarships.
The top three recipients in funding amounts from the United Fund are The Ark, Grace Clinic and Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministry, with the Elkin and Mountain Park rescue squads the next highest recipients, Steelman said.
“It takes a lot of little pieces to make something successful,” he said of the campaign, which struggled for years to meet its goal, and has exceeded it the last two years since Steelman came on board as executive director.
“What a blessing the Lord showed upon us when he showed us David Steelman,” said Barry Cleary, president of the YVUF Board of Directors. “When David came into it, he became the face of our fund. He is a people person, he can talk to anyone on the street, and he has passion in our communities. The total we’ve raised is astounding.”
Steelman pointed out that Yadkin Valley United Fund is not affiliated with the national United Way organization, and that 85 percent of the funds go back to the agencies and scholarships, with very little administrative funds needed.
This year’s top donors were PVH in Jonesville, a grant from Reynolds American Foundation for $25,000, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, G&B Energy, Weyerhaeuser, MVP International, Duke Energy and Elkin City Schools. Those who allow payroll deduction, some which include matches from the company, are PVH, HCMH, G&B Energy, Weyerhaeuser, MVP, Duke Energy, the town of Elkin, BB&T, First National Bank (formerly Yadkin Bank), Mountain Valley Hospice, and other companies out of town allow employees to designate back to the YVUF in payroll deductions as well.
Steelman said the 17 Dine Out restaurants raised more money this year than in the past, with Bojangles’ topping that list in its first year participating in the amount of funds raised. The others in the top four included Dodge City, Speedy Chef and John Boys.
“Seven hundred and 50 businesses and individuals gave something, from $25 to $27,000,” said Steelman as he noted how many people were involved in the success of the campaign.
He went on to note that “four gave over $20,000; six over $10,000; 10 over $5,000; 15 business and individuals gave over $1,000; 100 gave $500 or more; 150 gave $200 or $500; and 450 gave less than $200.”
“I’m forever indebted to each of you,” Cleary said. “Right now, you see a room of givers. Givers are happy people generally, we understand where we came from, what we have and God gave us a charge to lift others up. Every little bit helps.”
He said while the donors may not have had a direct touch with those these agencies assist, “you are touching people’s lives every single day.”
Steelman is exploring the addition of a Wine Out event, similar to the dine out, for September when the 2017-18 campaign is in full swing.
“I had a dream we would get this to $200,000 in five years,” said Steelman of his personal goal when he joined the United Fund. “I’m hoping the board will go to $200,000 this year.”
He encouraged everyone to when they “leave out of here” to “push somebody up, encourage them.”
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.