Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the United Way of the CSRA kicked off its annual fundraising campaign Monday at Bell Auditorium with officials announcing a $4.1 million goal.
“Our goal is a challenge, but it’s one I feel we can attain,” said Zack Daffin, the campaign chairman. “So many people are in need of assistance. That’s why we are all here.”
Dan Dunn, of PaintJam, highlighted the kickoff event’s theme of “Painting a Brighter Future” in an unusual way. In five minutes, to the music of Ray Charles, he splashed, splattered and brushed paint on a 6-foot by 6-foot black canvas to create the singer’s visage. In a similar fashion in only two-and-a-half minutes with an electric guitar version of the national anthem playing in the background, he fashioned the head of Lady Liberty.
Also during the event, Mayor Deke Copenhaver proclaimed Monday United Way of the CSRA Day in honor of the organization’s 75th anniversary, and the 600 attendees watched the campaign video, which provided a glimpse into the United Way’s past.
Formed in 1936 in the midst of the Great Depression as the Character Chest, the United Way raised money for four agencies – the YMCA, YWCA, Salvation Army and Boy Scouts of America – its first year.
The Family Y, Salvation Army and Boy Scouts of America are among the 23 partner organizations still receiving funding from the United Way. In its 75-year history, the organization has raised more than $113 million.
“As you know, the needs of the community continue to grow each year,” said Daffin, stressing the importance of reaching the campaign goal.
As an incentive for those who pledge $260 a year or $5 a week, Bob Richard, of Bob Richards Auto Group, has donated a 2012 Nissan Sentra. The winner of the car and the totals for the fundraising campaign will be announced in February at the United Way’s annual meeting.