A Look Back at 75 Years
In 2021, Lubbock Area United Way commemorated 75 years of helping people in our community and the surrounding area.
In the first fundraising campaign, conducted in just one week during November of 1946, individuals and businesses contributed $90,640 to help support seven local nonprofit organizations. Since that time more than $205 million has been contributed. Lubbock Area United Way now supports 23 Community Partners and more than 115,000 people annually.
Countless volunteers have given endless amounts of time, effort, and dedication to serving the people of the South Plains. There have been many champions of the cause and heroes who have never shied away from doing the heavy lifting.
It is especially important to thank all those volunteers and employees of our Community Partners. Day in and day out, for these past 75 years, they are the people who have delivered a wide variety of services and assistance to those who need our collective help.
We knew 2021 would be a very special year in the life of this organization. As we began planning our celebration, we had no idea that we would all have to endure a global pandemic in the meantime. The past few years were not only difficult for all of us, but it was absolutely devastating for many. We can all take great pride in the work of United Way’s Community Partners and nonprofits throughout our community in the way they met the extraordinary challenges of the last two years.
As we go about gathering the resources that are needed to continue our mission for another year, we do it with a renewed sense of purpose and pride and a conviction to United Way’s ongoing relevancy on the South Plains. Thank you for joining Lubbock Area United Way in celebrating 75 years of Giving • People • Hope.
115,668 Lives Impacted
In 2020, United Way funded programs through our Community Partners impacted 115,668 lives across the South Plains region. These services remove barriers for individuals and families and ensure that our local communitites as a whole are successful.
Lubbock Area United Way funded programs provide services in a 15-county area, creating opportunities to thrive for individuals and families across the South Plains. Within Lubbock County, services are not just concentrated to one area of the county. The map shows how many people in each zip code were impacted by United Way services in 2020.
75th Anniversary Celebration
We began planning for our 75th Anniversary in 2018; little did we know how much the world would change over the next three years. But what become clearer was the importance of our mission of Giving • People • Hope and our continued relevancy in the community.
Early on, the idea of relevancy became an important message that we wanted to share throughout our celebration. While 75 years is a significant milestone, what matters more to our team and our board is that we continue to address the pressing issues of our times – that we continue spreading hope across the South Plains. Every event and activity connected to the 75th was built around this concept.
Our yearlong celebration would not have been the success it was without the efforts of 75th Anniversary Committee Chair Heather Smith. Heather’s expertise helped us develop the right scope for the project and kept us on track in the planning and implementation. She also ended up authoring our commemorative publication, “Building a Better Lubbock”.
Videographer Gary Bain worked with our team to produce the short film “HOPE: Lubbock Area United Way’s First 75 Years”. The film takes a look back and then looks to the future as United Way and our Community Partners continue to serve thousands of people across the Lubbock area. HOPE features several individuals who have volunteered with United Way through the decades.
In September, we had our celebration event, “Moments of Hope” out at Kitalou Gin. Hundreds of supporters joined us for a birthday bash featuring singer-songwriter Josh Weathers. Many thanks to Amber Dean and Jon Stephens for co-chairing the event and to our presenting sponsor Covenant Health. Moments of Hope raised an additional $130,000 for the 2021 Annual Campaign.
Throughout the year, we visited each of our Community Partners to present special recognitions in gratitude for their partnership and the impact they make daily. At the Mid-Campaign Report in October, we recognized our original four Community Partners and our former board and campaign chairs. We also released several video shorts and stories highlighting volunteers, donors, and milestone moments.
We would like to express our gratitude to the J.T. and Margaret Talkington Charitable Foundation for underwriting the anniversary celebration.
In 2021, we started several new initiatives around our priority issues. Workgroups were created for each area to create solutions and drive efforts.
Our Start Smart Workgroup increased efforts around school readiness. In the spring, we partnered with Lubbock ISD, Frenship ISD, Lubbock-Cooper ISD, Early Learning Centers, and the YWCA of Lubbock to promote Pre-Kindergarten registration. Through the summer, we expanded our Summer Reading Calendar to include a weekly email series promoting upcoming events and sharing tips to make reading easy at home.
In October, we hosted our fourth United We Read event, reading to more than 3,500 second-graders in Lubbock County school districts. In November, we started a new initiative, “United We Read-Alongs”. Every month, we work with Lubbock, Frenship, and Lubbock-Cooper ISDs to select one campus per district and one grade per school to read to. Volunteers read to classrooms and every child receives a copy of the book. Teachers also receive a gift bag full of books and resources for their classroom as an extra thank you.
Our Safety Workgroup worked with local medical providers to train staff on how to recognize signs of sex trafficking and help potential victims. The workgroup also produced a training video for local secondary educators. The video highlighted what trafficking looks like on the South Plains, shared red flags that educators should be watching for, and provided information on what they should do if they suspect something.
Our Mental Health Workgroup began working on a plan for 2022 for a local anti-stigma campaign. Planned for Mental Health Awareness Month in May of 2022, the campaign will share local resources and focus on reducing the stigma around receiving mental health support.
Also in 2021, our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee continued to expand United Way’s work around diversity and anti-racism. The committee led workshops for United Way board members and Community Partners, training volunteers and staff on how to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workplaces. The committee also conducted an in-depth assessment of United Way’s workplace and is in the process of developing implementation plans to improve on blind spots discovered in the assessment.
United Way partners with local nonprofits to address the roots of significant issues in the Lubbock area. This collaborative effort allows us to wrap our efforts around a problem and tackle it from many angles, producing measurable outcomes that are changing lives on the South Plains.
We are committed to transparency and accountability. We want donors to feel comfortable that gifts to United Way are being invested wisely. All of our Community Partners participate in an annual review process that ensures that we live up to this commitment.
Inspiring new stories every day—our 2021 Annual Campaign theme spoke to the daily impact of our Community Partners. Staff and volunteers uphold our mission of hope through sustainable programs and measurable outcomes. The funding provided through the campaign ensures agencies have the support they need to run these programs.
2021 Campaign Chair Mark Griffin continually challenged volunteers and supporters to add their thread to the tapestry of stories that make up United Way and our mission of Giving • People • Hope. During the campaign, more than 700 volunteers added their voice to the challenge, asking coworkers, friends, family members, and local businesses to join them in giving.
In addition to the dollars given by individuals and companies, three special events added more than $368,000 to the Annual Campaign total—the Jacky Pierce Charitable Classic hosted by United Supermarkets, the LIVE UNITED Golf Tournament, and the 75th Celebration Event Moments of Hope.
The combined gifts of individuals and companies and the funds raised at these events resulted in $6,000,183 contributed to the 2021 Annual Campaign. In 75 years, generations of West Texans have given more than $205 million, building a better Lubbock and a better South Plains for each of us.
Rita Harmon Volunteer Service Award
2021 Honoree David Alderson
David Alderson became the President/CEO of Alderson Enterprises in 1998. A family-owned business established in 1949, Alderson Enterprises has a history of supporting the Lubbock area.
David is a longtime volunteer for United Way and chaired the Annual Campaign in 2012. He also has served as chair for the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, the Chancellor’s Council at Texas Tech University, and as the chair to establish the Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship at Rawls College of Business. In addition, he has served on the advisory council for Talkington School for Young Women Leaders.
Since 2016, David has had an active role in the City of Lubbock’s efforts to revitalize the downtown area, serving as a board member for the Downtown TIF Board.
Annually, David and Alderson Enterprises also donate a prize package for entry to the Lexus Champions for Charity Golf Classic to the LIVE UNITED Golf Tournament. The raffle adds approximately $20,000 to the tournament total each year.
2020 Honoree Robert Taylor
In 2010, Robert Taylor was named President and CEO of United Supermarkets. The company is well-known on the South Plains and in every market they operate for their commitment to service and community.
Robert himself has been an active volunteer and advocate. He has filled several leadership roles within United Way and is a past president of one of United Way’s Community Partners, the Salvation Army. Having a passion for growing young entrepreneurs, Robert chaired the Lemonade Day board for many years. Several United Way Community Partners including the YWCA, Boys and Girls Club, the Boy Scouts, and the Girl Scouts participate in the program.
In 2020, Robert co-chaired the Lubbock Economic Recovery Task Force. Robert and United Supermarkets also assisted United Way and the Community Foundation of West Texas in raising $1.6 million for the South Plains COVID-19 Response Fund. Undaunted by a global pandemic, Robert and his team chose to pivot United’s annual Jacky Pierce Charity Classic and held the first-ever “golfless” tournament. They successfully raised $500,000 to share between 28 local United Ways.
Campaign Volunteer of the Year
Lisa Thomason is the Director for the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. She has volunteered to chair the City of Lubbock’s workplace campaign for three years, is a member of Women United, and is an active supporter of United Way.
In 2021, Lisa and her team of “Rally Leaders” led City employees in a campaign that raised $150,041, 38% over their goal.
2021 Community Partner Volunteer of the Year
Karen Bosscher began volunteering for the YWCA of Lubbock in 2021. With the labor shortage at its peak, Karen heard that the agency needed someone to drive students from the Condra School to the YWCA on University.
The children Karen drives are young and many have special needs—all require lots of special attention. Karen makes up fun ways to keep the children engaged and encouraged every day.