By Irene Richardson
Thanks to the generosity of Birmingham’s community and a hardworking team, United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) exceeded its 2020 campaign goal by $1.5 million after raising a total of $36 million during the annual Hope Happens campaign.
When UWCA launched the ‘Because of You Hope Happens’ campaign in September, people viewed it from computer screens instead of banquet seats. This kickoff would set the theme for the next three months as UWCA members determined how to deliver their goals for the campaign virtually.
COVID quickly became a real threat earlier this year when planning began as UWCA’s campaign chairs immediately thought, “What will this do to the campaign since so many of Birmingham’s nonprofits and vital organizations rely on funds from the annual campaign each year to provide necessary services to residents in Central Alabama?”
But, UWCA was not deterred—only motivated. Fundraisers thought of how things might look different. They began to learn new strategies, pivot to a digital platform, assemble a group of veteran cabinet members and more.
“When the pandemic hit and we had to write this alternative playbook, nobody blinked…In fact I saw a deeper stacking of hands than I’ve ever seen in one community effort before,” said Greg King, 2020 Campaign Chair, United Way of Central Alabama.
Donors understood what was happening and responded in generous ways.
Since the pandemic, support for the Hope Happens campaign increased tenfold.
“At United Way, we have the belief that we are a community asset—owned by the community, led by volunteers and managed by staff,” said Drew Langloh, President and CEO, United Way of Central Alabama. “I’m humbled by everyone that came together to lend their time, talent and treasures during a time when it’s not easy to do and the needs of the community are incredibly great.
Funds from the Hope Happens campaign will go toward providing unrestricted, sustainable support to UWCA’s more than 80 partner agencies. This includes providing affordable housing through the YWCA or assisting those in a personal crisis. It also helps young women learning leadership skills with the Girl Scouts of Central Alabama and homebound seniors receiving free meals via Meals on Wheels.
With all of the support, UWCA improves the lives of Jefferson County, and those in the surrounding area which includes Shelby, Walker, Blount, St. Clair and Chilton counties.
Through quality education, financial stability, better health, and access to services Central Alabama grows stronger each year.
For more on the modern, mobile guide to Birmingham, visit bhamow.com.