Monday, April 12, 2010

Join us for Brews, Blues & BBQ!

United Way of the Piedmont Young Leaders Society 
invites you to 
Brews, Blues & BBQ

Friday, May 14, 2010
7:00 p.m.
Camp Mary Elizabeth 
(Girl Scout Camp located on Camelot Drive near Highway 29)

Brews from RJ Rockers
Blue(grass) by Bushy Valley Boys
BBQ & the Fixins'
(Wine & Dessert, too!)

Tickets: $20
All proceeds benefit programs Helping Youth Succeed in our community

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here
or email Monica Cothran.

Thanks to our sponsors:
Ford & Harrison
Phifer-Johnson Foundation
RJ Rockers


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

BMW Charity Pro-Am

Imagination Library has been chosen as a partner charity in the 2010 BMW Charity Pro-Am! This is such an exciting opportunity for Imagination Library and United Way of the Piedmont! The BMW Charity Pro-Am will be played May 13-16 at Bright's Creek Golf Club, The Carolina Country Club and Thornblade Club.  Amateurs and celebrities are grouped with Nationwide Tour professionals in the four-day competition, which is played at all three courses. Amateurs and celebrities will compete for individual prizes and cash donations to the charity of their choice. 

If you don't know about Imagination Library, you are missing out on a great program that touches thousands of children in our community each month.  Imagination Library is an early learning and literacy program which provides a free, age appropriate book each month to registered children in Spartanburg and Union Counties. United Way of the Piedmont serves as the primary fundraiser for the program and is charged with securing $30 per enrolled child, per year to cover the costs of shipping the books.

You can help support Imagination Library through the BMW Charity Pro-Am in many different ways:
  1. Volunteer at The Carolina Country Club. There are different volunteer opportunities available, including serving as a marshal at holes 1 and 5. This is the best deal in town, folks! As a marshal, you will have a front row seat to greet celebrities and golfers...and it's all for charity!
  2. Purchase your patron credentials for the tournament from the United Way office! Patron credentials are $25 each and serve as your pass to all four days of play at three beautiful area golf courses! The best part is when you purchase your credential from the United Way office, Imagination Library gets to keep the $25!
If golf and celebrities aren't your thing, but you would like to support Imagination Library, you can visit our website to give directly to the program.   $30 will provide a child in our community with free books for an entire year!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Census 2010: It's In Our Hands

What is the Census?

The Census counts every resident (citizen and non-citizen) living in the United States.  It is required, as stated in the Constitution, to take place every 10 years.  The data collected in the Census determines how federal funds are dispersed to communities for hospitals, senior centers, job training facilities, schools, emergency services and public works projects.  Census data also helps determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In March, a Census form will be mailed to every residence in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.  The form includes 10 questions which should be answered by a member of the household and mailed back in the postage paid envelope included in the packet.  People who do not mail back the form will receive a visit from a Census taker, who will ask questions that are listed on the form.

Why is the Census important?

We all count!  Each member of the community counts--and in order for our state to receive  representation in government that is reflective of our people, we must provide an accurate snapshot of our population.  Census data is also useful in advocating for causes--a major part of United Way's role in serving the communities of Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union Counties! Nonprofit and government agencies use Census data to determine areas of need within communities.   For example, you can view information from the 2000 Census about Spartanburg, South Carolina and learn:
  • The total population of Spartanburg was 253,791
  • 30,486 people 25 years or older held bachelor's degrees or higher
  • 14,953 people spoke a language other than English at home
  • The median age was 36.1 years
  • 30,394 individuals were living below the poverty level
  • The median household income was $37,579  
The national participation rate in 2000 was 72%. South Carolina's participation rate in the 2000 Census was 63-68%. We all need to do our part! Fill out your Census form and mail it back. Encourage your friends and family to do the same. For more information about the 2010 Census, including a list of commonly asked questions, please click here to visit the official Census webpage.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Brighter Future: Ending Child Abuse through Advocacy and Education

There's still time to register for A Brighter Future: Ending Child Abuse through Advocacy and Education.  United Way of the Piedmont, as part of the Spartanburg Community Indicators Project, is partnering with USC Upstate's College of Arts and Sciences to host this seminar, which will focus on protecting our community's children.

According to the Children's Defense Fund (2008), in South Carolina a child is abused or neglected every 49 minutes. The keynote speaker at the conference, Victor Veith, is the Director of the National Child Protection Training Center at Winona State University in Winona, MN. Guest speaker, David Finklehor, is the Director of Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

For more information, or to register for "A Brighter Future" please click here

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

UWP honored at Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting

Pictured above (l to r): Kathy Dunleavy--President and CEO, United Way of the Piedmont; Richard Dillard-- Board Chair, United Way of the Piedmont; George Acker--Government and Community Relations Director, Duke Energy Carolinas; Mark Bray--General Manager, Exel Logistics

United Way of the Piedmont, Walmart and Exel Logistics were presented the Duke Energy Citizenship & Community Service Award at the 2010 Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. The three organizations were recognized for their contributions to the establishment of the United Way Gifts in Kind Center. Over 100 local nonprofit agencies are members of the GIK Center, which receives returned product from Walmart stores through Exel Logistics. 

Thank you to Duke Energy and the Chamber of Commerce for this wonderful recognition! And a big "thank you" to Walmart and Exel Logistics for making this gift to our community a reality!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Not Your Mama & Daddy's United Way"

How does today’s United Way differ from “your Mama and Daddy’s United Way?”

United Way of the Piedmont, like many other local United Ways, has evolved from a transactional organization which focused primarily on raising money and distributing money to agencies. During the “transactional” years, United Way’s success in any given community was likely to be measured by a large thermometer in the town square that tracked the progress of the massive fundraising effort. Twenty years ago, there were a limited number of nonprofit organizations serving our community, and United Way provided a significant portion of these organizations’ annual budgets. As time has passed, the number of agencies has increased and we have come to realize that the issues affecting our community are complex and intertwined. Because United Way of the Piedmont cannot provide all the funding needed by each organization, we have adopted a relationship-based approach which moves the focus from transactional to year-round engagement—-with our partner agencies as well as corporate partners.

Our tagline is “Give. Advocate. Volunteer.” “Giving” is still a major part of United Way’s work—-we could not provide funding to 132 programs in 75 agencies across Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union Counties without the generosity of our donors. But it’s about so much more than an annual fundraising campaign…

Advocacy plays a major role in community improvement. When people are informed about the issues facing their community, not only are they more likely to share the information with others, but they are more likely to ACT. United Way of the Piedmont partnered with The Spartanburg County Foundation, University of South Carolina Upstate and Spartanburg County Government to convene hundreds of citizens to examine the issues that face Spartanburg County and develop strategies to bring significant change through Strategic Spartanburg: Community Indicators VI. Goal reports are published periodically to update our citizens on the status of these issues, which impact quality of life for all people living in our community. The Spartanburg Community Indicators Project is seen as a “best practice” across the nation, and representatives from communities across the country have traveled to Spartanburg to learn about the project.

Volunteerism is at the very heart of United Way of the Piedmont’s work. Whether it is through a person’s investment of money or of his time, the spirit of volunteerism moves that person to support his community. By promoting volunteerism, UWP connects a precious resource to agencies that are often short on hands, in addition to being short on funds. Because nonprofit agencies have limited budgets, they look to volunteers to assist in program support, special projects and day-to-day activities. United Way’s Volunteer Connections program matches individuals and corporate groups to agencies that are in need of volunteers. Last year, United Way of the Piedmont coordinated over 69,000 volunteer hours, which amounts to a value of nearly $1,000,000!

In August 2009, an exciting opportunity was presented to UWP for the benefit of our region. A major retailer opened a return center in Spartanburg County, and United Way of the Piedmont was asked to establish a Gifts in Kind Center to distribute products to community agencies. When products arrive at the return center, they are sorted and handled based on supplier instruction. Items are either returned to the supplier, or are donated to the local community for use in nonprofit organizations. On a daily basis, deliveries from the return center arrive at the Gifts in Kind Center operated by United Way of the Piedmont. Member agencies schedule appointments to shop for products to be used within their organizations and to serve clients. This new endeavor has been an exciting addition to our work at United Way of the Piedmont, and we continue to hear wonderful stories from member agencies about how the donated products have been put to use. Through the establishment of the Gifts in Kind Center, member agencies not only have access to products that can be used to serve their clients, but many have realized savings where funds that were being used for budget items are now available for use in other ways. It is estimated that UWP’s Gifts in Kind Center will receive $12,000,000 in returned product this year!

There are so many great things going on at your United Way and in your community. As we often say, “This isn’t your Mama and Daddy’s United Way,” and hopefully you can see why!

To learn about the many different initiatives and programs supported by United Way of the Piedmont, please visit our website. From our site you can sign up to receive our e-newsletter and find us on Facebook and Twitter!