United Fund begins 2013-14 campaign

Published 12:31 pm Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cathy McKinley, far left, and other community members enjoy refreshments Thursday evening at Heritage Park during the kickoff event for this year’s United Fund campaign.

Cathy McKinley, far left, and other community members enjoy refreshments Thursday evening at Heritage Park during the kickoff event for this year’s United Fund campaign.

Atmore community members had the opportunity Thursday to learn about the various causes that are helped by their donations to the annual United Fund campaign.

The United Fund held its campaign kickoff event Thursday evening, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Heritage Park in downtown Atmore. Several of the agencies that receive funding from the United Fund had exhibits set up on the park grounds, where agency representatives could explain their agencies’ missions and goals.

One of these agencies was the Friends of Education of Escambia County, which organizes the local HIPPY (Home Instruction of Parents of Preschool Youngsters) program. HIPPY helps educate parents about how they can better prepare their young children for school.

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Nancy Helton, the executive director of Friends of Education of Escambia County, said that local United Fund contributions provide for 10 percent of HIPPY’s annual budget.

“We get a grant from the state that covers a lot of our costs, but it doesn’t cover everything,” Helton said. “The United Fund helps us to be able to buy a lot of our materials. The great thing about the United Fund is that all of the money that is raised stays right here in Atmore.”

The fundraising goal for this year’s campaign is $55,000, which is similar to the amount raised last year. Companies can give one-time corporate donations, or can set up giving programs through their employees’ voluntary payroll deductions.

Individuals can also donate through the mail at “P.O. Box 823, Atmore, AL 36504.”

Linda Smith, executive director for Sav-A-Life Family Resource Center, said her organization is appreciative of the help it gets from the United Fund.

Sav-A-Life is a pro-life resource center that provides counseling services and parental support, and also educates school children with a Christian, pro-abstinence message.

“The United Fund helps us continue to reach school kids throughout the county with our positive message of abstinence and waiting for marriage,” Smith said. “We also have wonderful regular donors and benefactors throughout the year that help us in many ways.”

Katrina Wallace, the United Fund’s first vice president, said the kickoff event is a great way for citizens to see the good that their contributions can accomplish.

“You can read about what an organization does,” Wallace said. “But when you actually come out and you see them, and meet the people who work there, and listen to their presentations, it really means more. This event is also a great way to just let Atmore citizens know about all of the resources and programs that are available, to help make our community even better.”

Wallace also reiterated that the United Fund’s board does not have to pay any administrative costs to a larger national entity.

“All of the money stays right here in the community,” she said.

The United Fund supports the following agencies: Atmore Babe Ruth Baseball, Atmore Cal Ripken Baseball, Atmore Babe Ruth Softball, Atmore Pee Wee Football, Atmore Public Library, Atmore Tee-ball, Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County, Concerned Citizens of Atmore, Council on Aging, Escambia County Cooperative Library System, Friends of Education of Escambia County, Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast, Greater Escambia Council for the Arts, Hospitality House Ministry, Sav-A-Life Family Resource Center and The Progressive Civic and Recreational Club.

The Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce was the co-sponsor of Thursday’s kickoff event.