EAST LIVERPOOL-The United Way of Southern Columbiana County kicked off its 2013-2014 campaign on Friday with an appeal to board members' heads and hearts.
Campaign Chairman Stephen Sant outlined the challenges of raising funds in a down economy.
Special speaker Jeannie Sensenbaugher, a shelter monitor at Christina House, spoke as someone who has been on the receiving end of United Way assistance.
Stephen Sant addresses Friday’s awards banquet and campaign kickoff lunch for the United Way of Southern Columbiana County at the East Liverpool Motor Lodge. Sant is chairman of the 2013-2014 fundraising campaign, whose theme is “Live United.” (Photo by Stephen Huba)
A domestic violence survivor, Sensenbaugher said she works at Christina House because she, at one time, had to seek help at a women's shelter herself.
Christina House is one of 11 member agencies served by the United Way of Southern Columbiana County. The goal of the 2014 fundraising campaign is $110,000, the same as last year.
"It is up to us to raise the money necessary to keep the agencies we support capable of helping (others)," said Sant, president and CEO of Tri-State 1st Banc, Inc.
United Way agency representatives and board members kicked off the 2014 campaign with their annual awards ceremony and luncheon on Friday at the East Liverpool Motor Lodge. The money raised in the campaign will help fund the programs of agencies in East Liverpool, Wellsville and Calcutta for another year.
United Way Executive Director Diana Johnson said the 2013 campaign is at 91 percent of its goal. She said she is optimistic that the new campaign goal also will be reached.
"We definitely will need the whole year," she said.
The United Way annual campaign raises most of its money through corporate gifts, employee payroll deductions and one-time contributions.
Companies contributing $5,000 or more received Gold Awards on Friday: Ergon Inc., FirstEnergy, Giant Eagle and the Homer Laughlin China Co.
Companies contributing $2,000-$5,000 received Silver Awards: 1st National Community Bank, Heritage Thermal Services and Home Savings Bank.
Companies contributing $1,000-$2,000 received Bronze Awards: J.C. Penney Co., Nisource Columbia Gas, Operating Engineers Local 66 and The Review.
Sant said the East Liverpool area is still waiting on the economic benefits of the oil and gas drilling boom in Columbiana County.
"I think we're on the brink of an economic revolution," he said. "Long term, we're going to be very pleased with what's going to happen. Unfortunately, it's not here yet. We've still got a lot of need in this community."
Sant said social service agencies such as Christina House rely on the stable support of the United Way, especially when it's increasingly difficult to raise money outside the United Way.
The member agencies are: the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts Buckeye Council, Camp Fire USA Tayanoka Council, Catholic Charities Senior Citizen Center (Ceramic City), Christina House, East Liverpool YMCA, Family & Community Services Inc., Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, the Salvation Army of East Liverpool, Valley Parish Nurse Ministry and Wellsville First Christian Youth Ministries.
"I hope we can count on your support because it's sorely needed," Sant said. "We've all got our work cut out for us."
Sant also introduced the division chairmen for the 2014 campaign. The divisions cover such things as area schools and colleges, hospitals, individuals, downtown businesses, clubs, utilities, local governments and clergy.
Calcutta Giant Eagle Manager Buddy Robinson kicked off the campaign, like he did last year, by giving a check for $1,795 to Sant. The money was raised at the store's summer hoagie sales.
To arrange an employee presentation or make a contribution, call the United Way at 330-385-2082. Send contributions to: United Way of Southern Columbiana County, P.O. Box 646, East Liverpool, OH 43920.