September 22, 2022
United Way kicks off its 2022 campaign—inspiring hope and announcing $1,028,035 in early support.
AUGUSTA - United Way of Kennebec Valley (UWKV) launched its 2022 fundraising season with $1,028,035 in committed early support at the Campaign Kickoff and Hopeful Sign Lighting event. Twenty-three businesses reported early campaign success to a crowd of more than 150 people on Tuesday evening.
Nate Curtis of Gagnon Dental and Sue Grenier of G&E Roofing are co-chairing United Way's annual appeal effort. According to recent data, 1 in 4 Kennebec County residents received direct support from a United Way-funded program. This year, United Way ambitiously increased its annual campaign goal by 6 percent—hoping to raise $2 million in response to inflation and the growing need of the community. In order to meet this goal, Curtis and Grenier have challenged the community to "Round Up" their donations this year, such as turning $1.50 into $2 or rounding up to the Leadership level.
"We know that when people in our community come together we can persevere through anything, whether that be the remains of COVID or increased costs of living," Grenier said. "Rounding up your donation can provide access to affordable health care, early education opportunities and programs that increase financial stability for those in our community facing financial hardship due to inflation—and more and more people are finding themselves in that situation daily."
During the event, Curtis and Grenier announced that the campaign's focus will be on teens and mental health. Youth from the South End Teen Center (SETC)—a United Way-funded program—attended the event and shared stories about how the SETC has changed their lives.
"The SETC has changed my life in so many ways," said Evan Benway, center member. "Not only has it made me more comfortable in my surroundings, the club and the people there have taught me how to communicate better. The club is a safe place for us to hang out and be ourselves."
In addition to the Campaign Kickoff, UWKV hosted a sign-lighting ceremony to commemorate the installation of Augusta's new 25-foot Hopeful sign.
"By bringing this sign to our region, we intend to spread the message of hope far and wide," said Courtney Yeager, executive director of UWKV. "In the work that United Way funds, sometimes people do need a hot meal, a place to lay their head at night, child care to go to work, or help affording health services. And sometimes people just need a sliver of hope."
UWKV will be reusing the campaign theme, "Hopeful. United for a Stronger Community," to show that when someone makes a gift through United Way, they are committing an act of hope—for themselves, for their neighbors and for their entire little corner of Maine.
The artwork was sponsored by The Boulos Company, Central Maine Power and Kennebec Savings Bank and gifted to the City of Augusta for residents and visitors to enjoy for many years to come. Mayor Mark O'Brien accepted the gift on behalf of the city.
Hopeful artist Charlie Hewitt also attended the event. The Hopeful sign in Augusta is one of several signs of its size to be installed in Maine. Other signs can be found in cities including Portland, Lewiston and Bangor.
“Hopeful is not a passive work—it’s a challenge and a responsibility," Hewitt said. "To be hopeful requires action, it requires commitment, it requires opening your eyes, it requires being part of something. It requires being passionately in love with your country, passionately in love with your family, and passionately in love with everyone in your community."
To support United Way's county-wide campaign and bring hope to all our neighbors and friends, please contact 207-626-3400 or visit uwkv.org/give.
Categories: News | Tags: | Posted by: Mboyer
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