Hopkins County United Way recognized lead donors to the 2020-21 campaign at a kickoff lunch, hosted at Sulphur Springs Country Club, in their honor.
HCUW Board President Mike Horne welcomed those attending the luncheon and offered a prayer for the meal partaken. The United Way Board of Directors was acknowledged.
Lead donors to the 2020-21 campaign included Flowserve, Sulphur Springs ISD, GSC Enterprises, City National Bank, CHRISTUS Mother Frances hospital and system employees, UPS, Oncor, Jay Hodge Chevrolet, Hold CAT, Ocean Spray, Alliance Bank, City of Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County Hospital District EMS/Communications who all contributed $6,000 or more each. HCUW also received a donation for the Carol Vernon Paying It Forward Fund for contributing $10,000 or more and the Zahn Family Charitable Trust for making a contribution of $8,000 or more to the 2020-21 fundraising campaign
Also noted on HCUW’s “Story of Giving” card were about 40 other businesses, organizations and individuals who contributed between $500 and $4,999 each.
“I am so humbled by the success of the campaign,” said Horne, who served as campaign chair last year. “It’s not me, you did it, the community.”
He noted that he was at first hesitant to accept the role of campaign chair last year due to the work load at his business. However, with the encouragement of his wife and office staff, he committed to lead the 2020-21 campaign. That was in February 2020. Then, after spring break, things changed dramatically due to the pandemic. The decision was made not to increase the goal, but not to decrease it either due to the dire need of many in the community who were unable to work due to COVID shutdowns.
He went into it hoping just to meet the goal, to honor HCUW’s allocations to the agencies that provide services to so many. Thanks to the generosity of those in the community, individuals, businesses and organizations, not only was the campaign successful it was “one of the most successful campaigns ever,” Horne noted.
Overall, last year’s campaign finished more than $33,000 ahead of the goal, thanks to the local community who dug deep, seeing the need of so many more whose livelihoods were impacted by COVID-19 and raising to help meet that need.
Those generous community pledges to the 2020-21 campaign allowed HCUW to give additional funding to 16 of the benefitting agencies, then to donate $16,197 to Hopkins County Community Chest on Sept. 28.
Horne said the 2021-22 campaign which just kicked off is to again raise $150,000 to benefit 18 Hopkins County non-profit organizations. He is hopeful the community will continue to be generous this year, with excess funds raised above the goal, that HCUW can allocate and distribute to those agencies.
“It’s a blessing to me to get to know a lot of people in the community and to know what United Way does in the community,” said HCUW 2021-22 Campaign Chair Kristy Moseley, at least the second generation in her family to chair a HCUW campaign.
She said she knew about United Way, but didn’t fully understand just how much the annual fund drive does to help so many through the agencies allocated funding in the annual drive. Hearing representatives from community agencies speak before the HCUW Budget and Allocation Committee about the need in the community and what the United Way donation helps do is eye-opening to how much the community is in need.
Seeing the commitment of Bill Zahn, whose family charitable trust was among the 2020-21 lead donors, to HCUW by serving on the Budget and Allocations Committee makes her want to work even harder to meet this year’s goal.
“With all of your help,” Moseley told the lead donors gathered at SSCC over lunch Wednesday, “we can make that happen. All of the different companies that are here today, you all are lead donors. That is very important to us. “
The campaign chair noted that many of the lead donors continue to be at the top of the list annually. That’s a marked sign of their commitment to HCUW and helping their neighbors, friends and in some cases family members. Some of the donors also have ties to recipient programs, some volunteer their time not just to the programs but also to serve annually as HCUW campaign workers.
Moseley thanked Alliance Bank for sponsoring the lunch, Chaney and Craig Johnson for advertising, Latsons.com for providing campaign materials, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension staff for allowing HCUW to hold their weekly campaign workers report meetings at the Hopkins County office, and to Abby Tipps for making a video featuring representatives from quite a few of the organizations allocated funding from the current campaign which was played at the workers and lead donor campaign luncheons, and will be made available in digital format for any who wish to view it or show it to their employees or organization members.
The chair selected “Helping Build A Better Community” as this year’s campaign theme, because that’s what HCUW ultimately does and what each donation and volunteer does with their money and time.
“It’s my pleasure to serve as the campaign chair this year,” Moseley said, introducing keynote speaker Michael Lamb, superintendent of Sulphur Springs Independent School District.
Lamb said e’s never seen anything at any of the other places he’s lived quite like the HCUW campaign, and people’s commitment to it. His first few of his 10 years in Sulphur Springs, Lamb said he knew the school district participated and so did he – Ms. Judy Tipping would have it no other way. Initially, however, he saw it as just another fundraiser. He didn’t fully understand the scope of the campaign and all the good those funds do, until he started attending the annual lead donor appreciation luncheon – Others at the district understood and have put SSISD among the “Top 5 givers to the campaign.
He said opening the brochure that breaks down how much of the campaign has been allocated to each agency and what the funds helped them do. He began to realize that while he attended as a guest, the school district benefits from the campaign as well. So many of the programs in big and small ways hep support the school district.
“We give and we receive. I’m not sure many can say that,” Lamb said.
As the district began their long-term strategic planning, he didn’t see how closely the goals and objectives of the school district align with HCUW. He said initially, when Moseley asked him to be the featured guest speaker who would get the attendees fired up about this year’s campaign, he was hesitant. However, he was all in when Moseley told him the campaign theme, “Helping Build a Better Community.” That, he said aligns perfectly with what the school strives to do.
And, the 18 agencies and the funding HCUW has allocated to them help SSISD achieve that. The strategic planning, he explained, basically students’ basic needs have to be met before their wants, including learning. A student won’t care what the teacher is saying if their stomach is grumbling from hunger. They must feel safe, like they belong and are needed. Only after their basic needs are met will they be able to grown and become the successful person each was intended to be. Family and community relationships play a role in education as well.
So, HCUW’s theme matches what the school strives to be, their mission and goal to help build a better community. Those HCUW agencies are part of those community relationships.
CANHelp, Lamb said, has been a huge partner for schools over the years, helping get families and kids back on track by helping to meet their basic needs, such as food and medical needs.
“I can’t help but feel CANHelp is an extension of the school,” Lamb said.
Bright Star baseball provides an opportunity last year for 107 special needs youth to participate in sports; it also includes 107 buddies, other students willing to grab the Bright Star players’ hands and hep them play baseball.
Hopkins County 4-H, an extension of Texas AgriLife Extension, that teaches kids so many important character traits, which are helping provide opportunities for these youth and teaching them to become tomorrow’s leaders and the importance of hard work and vital yet often difficult role farmers play in the economy and our existence. Lamb commended the phenomenal work effort of the 4-H participants as they are spending time grooming, feeding, brushing and caring for livestock projects at shows, especially those held at the Civic Center for Hopkins County youth annually. “There’s noting better to see,” Lamb noted.
SSISD is blessed to have the support of Sulphur Springs Symphony League. The district holds 3-4 fine arts events each year. The Symphony League brought Broadway plays to the middle school. The annual Children’s program too helps enrich children’s experiences and foster their interest in the arts. Kids interested in the arts will work to keep up in school, maybe even introduce them to something they come to love, according to the superintendent.
Community Chest is another agency that like CANHelp helps meet people’s needs, ensuring they have a safe place to stay and food to teach.
Those are only a few of the agencies that benefit from HCUW and which benefit the school district and community.
“We have a very successful school because of the community,” Lamb said. “I dont’ know how else to convince you, to motivate you to go and do for United Way.”
He encouraged those present to open the brochure like he did about 6 years ago and see all of the organizations United Way gives to.
“There’d be no school without it,” Lamb said, noting he’d talked to community representatives that are connected to at least four of those programs before arriving at the Country Club. “That’s my story and I am honored to talk to you today.”