Mike Hogan pulled a cassette player out of a silver briefcase and inserted a tape.
A mysterious voice then commissioned those attending the United Way of the CSRA’s campaign kickoff Monday to accept the challenge to infiltrate the community and “fight the evil forces of poverty, hunger and illiteracy” by helping the organization raise its goal of $4.15 million.
“Today is a big deal as we roll out the goal and rally the community,” said Hogan, the 2012 campaign chairman, after the Bell Auditorium event.
The theme for this year’s campaign is “Mission: Possible.” The events of the kickoff played on the spy theme, with Hogan clad in a trench coat, the Augusta West Dance Company performing to the Pink Panther theme, and the briefcase-carrying Lady Scarlett appearing and disappearing several times during the program.
Hogan said money raised from this year’s campaign would fund more than 40 programs in 23 agencies, including the American Red Cross of Augusta, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta, Fireside Ministries, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, and Boys and Girls Clubs of the CSRA.
Last year, the United Way raised $4,129,623.
At Monday’s kickoff, the United Way honored Procter & Gamble, which in May received the Spirit of America Award, the national United Way’s highest honor. Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Publix were honored as Summit Award winners for their contributions.
Club Car employees have placed a dent in this year’s fundraising goal by raising $73,000 at their debut golf classic in May.
Bob Richards, of Bob Richards Auto Group, donated a 2013 Nissan Versa hatchback to the campaign. People who donate at least $260 per year will be entered into a drawing to win. Depending on the amount pledged, donors will have up to four entries in the contest.
The United Way will raise money by employee campaigns through February, when officials will “call in from the field” the undercover agents who have been at work.