United Way kicks off 2023 campaign

Published 9:24 am Thursday, September 14, 2023

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United Way of West Georgia kicked off its 2023 fundraising campaign, “United in Purpose,” on Wednesday with a luncheon at Del’avant in LaGrange.

Each year, United Way of West Georgia selects someone to head up their annual fundraising campaign. This year the nonprofit went with more of a team approach, naming a “Dream Team” of leaders to head the campaign.

Mario Demarino, Lead Community Banker at Synovus; Kathleen Ernest, Retired Occupational Therapist; Irisha Goodman, TCSS Public Relations; and Molly McKeen, Realtor; were selected to lead the 2023 campaign as a team.

Ernest said she got involved with United Way through Success by Six and has since gotten more involved to help solve problems in the community.

“When I moved to LaGrange I quickly found out what a giving and supportive community this is and how important the United Way is to our community,” Ernest said. United Way is the best way for me to be involved in helping solve problems in our community.”

“It takes a lot of volunteers to help run a campaign all across our community. We call these volunteers our campaign coordinators, and they are truly the heartbeat of the United Way. They will be running campaigns in their prospective businesses, educating people on United Way and giving them the opportunity to make our community a better place to live,” Goodman said.

McKeen said United Way of West Georgia’s fundraising goal for the 2023 campaign is $850,000.

“We came close last year, but with your help, we are certain that we can get over this amount this year,” McKeen said.

Demarino reminded guests that 99 cents out of every dollar raised stays within the community as funding for local partner agencies.

The 23 partner organizations that are supported by United Way West Georgia include the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, CASA of Troup County, Children’s Advocacy Center, Communities in Schools, Foster Grandparent Program, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Good Shepherd Therapeutic Center, Harmony House, Hogansville Active Life, Hogansville Empty Stocking Fund, Interfaith Food Closet, LaGrange Active Life, LaGrange Empty Stocking Fund, LaGrange Personal Aid, Literacy Volunteers of Troup County, Maidee Smith Early Care & Learning Center, Salvation Army, Self Help Harbor, Senior Companions, Special Olympics of Troup County, Success by 6 and West Point Active Life.

Demarino said United Way’s third annual Day of Caring, an annual service day, is scheduled for Oct. 12.

“This is a day of coming together and getting our hands dirty and working on projects in the community,” Demarino said.