In a final push, spurred by a challenge by an anonymous donor, the Yadkin Valley United Fund met its $200,000 goal during its annual appreciation celebration banquet Saturday night.
The organization, which uses its raised funds to support 26 partner nonprofit agencies in the region, had raised $195,000 prior to Saturday’s dinner at Cedarbrook Country Club, despite losing a significant amount of funding from previous year’s sources. David Steelman, executive director for YVUF, had been calling this a “miracle” year, and then that “miracle” expanded in the closing five minutes of the dinner.
Bill Johnson with Surrey Bank & Trust announced during Steelman’s final comments that one of the organization’s supporters had texted him with a challenge — the donor would match any money up to $2,500 raised from the people in the room at the banquet.
Zim Zimmerman, general manager at Cedarbrook, was in the room and raised his hand offering to give $100. From there, a chorus of others offered to pledge $100 each, and some even started pulling the cash out of their wallets then and there. Other donors gave what they could to support the cause, including some of the agencies’ representatives who were in attendance.
By the end of the night, YVUF had met its 2018 goal of $200,000.
In a follow-up email Monday, Susan Stewart, president of the YVUF Board of Directors, wrote, “It was a thrilling, yet poignant, evening of celebration, humor, reflection, and excitement. … The generosity of spirit in the room was overwhelming — people lined up at the head table and cash, checks and pledges just kept rolling in faster than we could write it all down.”
The money raised during the banquet came out to about $2,900, over the challenged $2,500 match.
“It was incredibly heartwarming,” Stewart wrote. “Our anonymous donor who enabled us to meet our goal was former board member and our website guru, Brent Kleinheksel.”
The Kleinheksels, Brent and Jennifer, already had been recognized as some of the individuals who had donated over $500 to the YVUF campaign for 2018.
As she welcomed business and individual donors giving more than $500 to the 2018 campaign, Stewart said, “Tonight is an evening of reflection and celebration. We want to reflect on the many ways in which the Yadkin Valley United Fund supports our community and its citizens in need. We also want to celebrate the generosity of spirit within our community that enables us to do all that we do to be a force for good within the Yadkin Valley.
“We live in a very special place. I truly believe that, and I believe everyone in this room fills as I do,” she said. “Because we all fill so incredibly blessed to live where we do, we want to give back and we want to work to improve the lives of others around us who are less fortunate.”
She said it continually amazes her that the desire to giveback extends throughout the community and throughout the businesses and organizations represented at the dinner. “From rank-and-file employees at the very bottom of some of these corporations and businesses to the CEOs at the top, the Yadkin Valley United Fund enables all of us to come together, pull on the same rope and support charitable organizations like The ARK, the Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministry, Grace Clinic, the Elkin Rescue Squad, the Mountain Park Rescue Squad and the list goes on and on,” Stewart said.
“By helping these organizations raise the funds that they need to do their work, the people in these charitable organizations are able to spend more time taking care of others and less time fundraising. That’s why the Yadkin Valley United Fund does what it does,” she said.
Stewart recognized Steelman as the drive behind the successful campaigns the united fund has had for the last three years.
The 2019 campaign will kick off in mid-August.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.