United Way of the Lowcountry sets $2.4 million fundraising goal

rlurye@islandpacket.comApril 3, 2014 

Although the United Way of the Lowcountry inched up its fundraising goal by $100,000 for 2014, officials will have much longer to raise the $2.4 million, under a restructured, yearlong campaign.

The nonprofit organization announced its new benchmark Thursday at a reception, in which Ashley Twombley was sworn in as the new chairman of the board. While past campaigns have kicked off in the fall and lasted through January, the organization is moving toward yearlong fundraising to better spread the word about the work its 33 partner agencies do each day in Beaufort and Jasper counties, Twombley said.

The organization will also no longer enact a two-month blackout that previously prevented its partner agencies from fundraising from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, he said.

"I think this organization's best days are ahead," said Twombley, who has also served on the United Way board and with its Emerging Leaders program.

Just two months ago, the organization reached its $2.3 million goal for 2013, the first time the organization had hit its target since 2007. Previously, it had struggled to meet benchmarks of around $2.7 million and $2.8 million.

Volunteers and staff with many of the United Way's programs and grant recipients were among the hundreds who attended Thursday's event at Hampton Lake in Bluffton. One of them, Webby Dyches of the Beaufort County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs, said a United Way grant has helped Beaufort's Camp Treasure Chest make a big change -- the camp for severely disabled children and young adults will expand to southern Beaufort County this summer.

"The generosity of our community has been absolutely incredible," United Way president and CEO Tina Gentry said.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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