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United Way sets $195,000 goal here
United Way board members Clemontine Washington, Bobby Ryon, Susan McCorkle, Rene Harwell, David Floyd, Josh Wheeler and Troy Vogel unveil this year’s campaign goal at Thursday’s kickoff party at The Heritage bank. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
The United Way of the Coastal Empire launched its 2009 fundraising campaign Thursday afternoon. The Heritage Bank opened its lobby to host the UWCE Liberty branch kickoff ceremony, where United Way board members unveiled the campaign’s $195,000 goal.
The UWCE, which serves Chatham, Bryan, Effingham and Liberty counties, announced its overall goal of $8.2 million during an earlier gala at the Savannah Civic Center.
Members of the UWCE Liberty board and the community gathered in the bank lobby to participate in a silent auction and enjoy a catered meal.
“This is our kickoff to our campaign to bring in area businesses and the board of the campaign together and get the new campaign started,” said Troy Vogel, logistics group leader at Target and campaign co-chairman for the Liberty United Way branch.
The Liberty branch was created roughly 32 years ago, according to Katherine McCartney, Heritage Bank vice president and Liberty United Way board chairwoman.
During her presentation, McCartney said they currently receive funds from 75 different businesses in Liberty County with 7,000 individuals contributing funds. 
“There are over 30 organizations that we support,” McCartney said. “Some of those organizations are the American Red Cross and ACS on Fort Stewart. We also support the Tri-County Protective Agency, Manna House, Seniors Citizens, Inc., YMCA and many more within the local community.”
Given the volatile economy, McCartney knows meeting this year’s goal will be a challenge.
“But, in my experience, this community has always found a way to give back and although it’s going to be harder to get people to pull out of their pockets and give ... I would be very surprised if we weren’t able to achieve our goal,” she said.
Vogel said there are many ways to contribute. “It depends on the business or where they work at. One way is through automatic payroll deduction through their employer. They can also write a check to the United Way of Coastal Empire.”
“And you can designate which organization you want your money to go to,” said Josh Wheeler, Heritage Bank vice president and campaign co-chairman for the Liberty Branch of the United Way of the Coastal Empire said.
McCartney said participants fill out forms and designated the agencies they want their funds to go to. The funds can be divided between different agencies or allocated in whole to just one.
“However you want those funds to go, we will make sure it gets there,” she said.
Leah Poole has served as executive director of the UWCE Liberty for five years.
Wheeler said employers can contact Poole and set up an appointment to discuss the different options employers and individuals have regarding United Way donations.
Anyone who wants to donate or get more information can call 368-4282, e-mail or go to the UWCE Web site at
Vogel said more events are planned and said this weekend’s ‘Hoofin’ it for Our Heroes’ raised funds for the UWCE and the funds were allocated to the local police, fire departments, the Army community service and the Liberty Regional Foundation.
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