Drive's $75,000 goal surpassed

Published 9:15 pm Monday, March 19, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Members of the community opened their hearts and pocketbooks once again this year as they gave generously to the United Fund of Atmore's annual project.
The United Fund's goal for the year was $75,000. According to Susan Smith, president of United Fund, the goal was exceeded by more than $15,000.
"The drive ended on February 28," Smith said. "That is when the final contributions were received, which includes pledges. The grand total was $90,825.11."
The fact that there has not been any kind of disaster recently is what makes the total so astonishing, Smith said.
"What makes this so extraordinary is that normally when you haven't had a disaster or a significant need in the community, you will find people not as eager to give," she said. "The Atmore community is the exception, that is evident by the amount that has been given."
United Fund was established approximately 50 years ago when a group of businessmen and women of Atmore saw needs in the community. Many of these individuals knew of the requests being made by agencies to merchants, businesses and individuals. In order to meet these needs, the agencies were constantly going to ask for money.
The men and women came together to form United Fund. The organization has a board which includes people in education, mainstream businesses, civic leaders, along with many other individuals throughout the community.
The board decided to seek funding for any organization that was qualified. From there, the board went to different individuals to ask for money to help the agencies. The board members canvass businesses and individuals, as well as organizations.
"The board gets the money from the Atmore community," Smith said. "Then we allocate money to approved agencies who then disperse the money back into the community. Some of the same groups we allocate to give back to the United Fund. It's a continuing circle. We are helping agencies who help us."
This year the public schools participated in a coin challenge to help raise money for United Fund, Smith said.
"The local public schools along with the support and encouragement of the superintendent, Billy Hines, conducted a United Fund challenge," she said. "The students, along with the faculty and staff, raised approximately $4,500. These students, many of whom benefit from United Fund, felt the importance of giving back to the community in which they live. To me, that says that Atmore's future is in good hands. Each school stepped up to the challenge and we are proud of each school, the leaders, but especially the students."
Smith was gracious to United Fund board members, along with the community members that gave to the organization.
"I am going to take this opportunity to thank all of those who served on the United Fund board, all organizations, all businesses and all individuals who willingly gave of their time, money and self to make this happen," she said. "Without any of these people, it would not have happened. Atmore truly is a great place to live."
The process of raising money begins again for United Fund. The board recently elected the first vice president, Ann Glavan, to fill Smith's shoes as president next year.
"The circle begins again," Smith said. "This is an annual project for United Fund and Ann Glavan, the president next year, is highly qualified."

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