About 600 Lubbock Area United Way volunteers, donors and agency representatives attended the organization’s Mid-Campaign Report Luncheon Thursday, at which it was announced that 58.5 percent of its 2016 campaign's $6,026,041 goal has been reached.
Amber Dean, the 2016 United Way chairwoman, made the announcement that $3,543,753 has been contributed to the campaign during the luncheon at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.
“United Way has had an amazing hand in shaping and impacting our community over the past 70 years,” Dean said. “At its core, United Way is simply a group of dedicated people working each year to make our community a better place to live.”
United Way's 61 local business campaign event sponsors were recognized during the luncheon for underwriting the costs for the Mid-Campaign Report meeting, the Victory Report meeting and other campaign events.
“For over 70 years, United Way has been blessed by the support with companies just like the ones that we’ve recognized, as well as individuals,” Dean said. “The very first United Way campaign in Lubbock kicked off on Nov. 11, 1946. A lot of important work has taken place in the community during that time.”
The United Way celebrated its 70 years in the Lubbock community and the agencies the organization has supported. Currently, the United Way supports 23 community partners that work to help assist people with needs, such as affordable child care, crisis situations, character development, adult literacy, job training and youth mentoring.
Matt Bumstead, former United Way chairman and board chairman, shared United Way’s history during the luncheon. The first Lubbock United Way campaign in 1946 raised $90,640, and since then more than $164.4 million has been contributed and invested in the Lubbock community.
“This United Way story is so magnificent, complex, beautiful and extraordinary,” Bumstead said. “It goes so far beyond what we first think of United Way.”
Irasema Velasquez, a local businesswoman, and Landon Willess, Lubbock Boys & Girls Club board of directors president, also spoke during the luncheon about how some of United Way’s agencies impacted their lives.
Velasquez said her family’s home was destroyed when a tornado ripped through Central and North Lubbock on May 11, 1970. She was 14.
“All nine of us in our home felt that something was about to happen and we ran and congregated in the hall, and as soon as all nine of us were there, windows popped, we were knocked over with the wall and we stayed there for what seemed an eternity,” Velasquez said. “We opened the door and, low and behold, nothing but the bath tub. After that, we went from home to home ... I heard this big noise out front and I went out to the front and there was this big truck backing up into our drive way and it was full of everything that we needed to continue our life. We had lost everything. It is the agencies like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross ... those efforts touched my life.”
Willess said the Boys & Girls Club helped shape him into a respectable adult and has kept him involved at the club throughout his life. He said the club’s goals are to offer a safe environment, make children feel welcomed and to impact their lives.
“I first attended the Boys & Girls Club in 1993,” Willess said. “I was nine years old and all I wanted to do was play basketball. I spent almost every afternoon with my friends and this continued until junior high. The things that I remember most about my time at the club is the staff that was there to support me. As I look back I realize they were helping mold me and my friends into respectable young men and woman.”
Dean also accepted two checks from two golf tournaments on behalf of the United Way campaign.
The golf tournaments included the 25th Annual Jacky Pierce Charity Golf Classic Tournament ($99,171) and the United Way LIVE UNITED Golf Tournament ($126,549).
The final campaign report meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Nov. 29 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. To RSVP for the luncheon, call 806-747-2711.
United Way annual campaign total as of Oct. 13
■ National/Combined Federal Campaign: $25,628
■ Special Gifts: $42,823
■ Professional: $92,564
■ Local Government: $204,159
■ Golf Tournaments: $225,720
■ State Employee Charitable Campaign: $411,093
■ Corporate: $684,576
■ Loaned Executives/JumpStart: $1,857,190
■ Total: $3,543,753
by Denise Marquez