Our view: Despite pandemic, United Way leaders do great work
AJ Media Editorial Board
February 5, 2021
We would be remiss if we didn’t pause for a moment to acknowledge the incredible work of the staff and volunteers at the Lubbock Area United Way during the organization’s 2020 campaign.
Campaign Chair A.J. Martinez delivered a yeoman performance over the course of the past year, leading a huge fundraising effort that requires the coordinated efforts of hundreds of volunteers all the while battling headwinds from an unrelenting pandemic.
The virus forced Lubbock Area United Way (and numerous other nonprofits) to shift high-profile events online as the organization did its part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. That means the kickoff, subsequent update meetings, and even the recent annual meeting were not the community celebrations they have typically been.
Equally important was the local economic toll of the virus as forced closures, capacity restrictions and other measures had varied impacts on businesses and families. That resulted in more people than ever seeking assistance from a variety of agencies, including United Way partner agencies.
That said, everyone knew going in the 2020 campaign would be more challenging than just about any other in the organization’s history. Despite that, the local United Way announced (via live stream, what else) that it had raised $5,402,194 in the recently completed campaign. The number represents 94.6% of the goal established last fall. While reaching the goal is always important for a variety of reasons, it was intentionally underplayed this year because the agency, to its credit, understood the magnitude of COVID-19’s local impact.
“The success of the campaign can be credited to the work of our Campaign Cabinet, Loaned Executive, Speakers’ Bureau, Campaign Coordinators and countless others who connected with both individuals and businesses,” Martinez said in our story. “In fact, 461 people volunteered to help with the annual campaign. We couldn’t have accomplished what we did without every single one of you.”
That is certainly true, but we would also hasten to point out that everything is a result of leadership, and Martinez provided one of the most compelling examples of community leadership in recent years, maintaining a steadfast commitment to see the campaign through in spite of circumstances well beyond anyone’s control.
The amount raised, according to the local United Way, will impact more than 110,000 lives across the Lubbock area in 2021, the latest chapter in a success-filled organizational history that dates to 1946. Overall, more than $193 million has been raised, including $29 million in the past five years alone.
Likewise, we salute Kelsey Johnson of the Lubbock YWCA, who was named the campaign volunteer of the year for his leadership of the Loaned Executive Division. Ann McGinty was named the community partner volunteer of the year for her efforts with Literacy Lubbock, where she has been a volunteer for almost 15 years and logged more than 1,500 volunteer hours.
The local United Way will observe a significant milestone in 2021 as it will celebrate its 75th anniversary. The organization recently announced key leadership positions for the coming year with Frenship ISD Superintendent Michelle McCord tabbed to chair the board of directors and Mark Griffin of the Griffin Companies and Pro Petroleum, Inc., chairing the annual campaign.
We wish the organization and these community servant leaders the best in the year to come and express our gratitude to those who have supported Lubbock Area United Way – this year and through the years.