The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 16, 2013

‘Dancing’ will help United Way

By Frank Wood
For The United Way

BECKLEY — Southern West Virginia’s version of “Dancing with the Stars” this coming Friday night will help kick off the local 2013-2014 United Way campaign with its goal of reaching $525,000.

The night of competition, food and dancing — scheduled at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center — will give everyone a chance to get dressed up for one of the most fun nights of the year. Doors will open at 6 p.m.; dancing starts at 7:30.

It is a great honor and privilege for me to have been chosen to serve as the 2013-2014 Campaign Chairman for the United Way of Southern West Virginia. Having served as vice chairman last year under the highly capable leadership of Richard Jarrell, I can only hope that this year’s campaign will be able to build upon last year’s tremendous success.

I also feel very fortunate to have been joined with this year’s vice chair Sherrie Hunter, who is widely known throughout the region for her tireless efforts in conservation and environmental issues for the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority.

The United Way envisions a world where all individuals and families are able to achieve their human potential through education, income stability and healthy lives. As part of its mission, the United Way improves lives by mobilizing caring power communities around the world to advance the common good.

The focus of United Way of Southern West Virginia Inc. is identifying and resolving pressing community issues, as well as making measurable changes in the communities through partnerships with schools, government agencies, businesses, organized labor, financial institutions, community development corporations, voluntary and neighborhood associations, the faith community and others. However, the main focus areas include education, income and health.

United Ways identify and build on community strengths and assets, help individuals and groups with specific community interests find ways to contribute their time and talents, support direct-service programs and community-change efforts, and are advocates of public policy changes.

The local United Way meets human service needs and finds long-term solutions in the southern West Virginia area by engaging the greatest number of donors, leaders and volunteers and partnering to advance the common good — that is the mission of our regional United Way project for 2013-2014.

Our vision is to be a national model for community engagement generating financial and voluntary contributions to meet local needs and make lasting improvements in our quality of life.

A volunteer-led organization, the United Way is the area’s private funder of health and human services, primarily provided by some 32 active partner agencies in the five counties of Raleigh, Fayette, Summers, Nicholas and Wyoming.

Our website is

Finally, the money raised is distributed to the nonprofits, and they perform the work necessary to move the community forward. They help homeless veterans get back on their feet; they help families obtain affordable health care; they care for our community’s youngest and oldest members; they provide treatment for trauma services for addiction and much more.

When you give to the United Way of Southern West Virginia, you immediately become part of the collective power of generosity. Every individual has a different desire and ability to give. That’s why there are several levels of giving that allow you to contribute to the health of our community within our own means.

Regardless of the amount of your contribution, we promise to combine your gift with others to deliver long-term solutions for southern West Virginia’s people in need. It is also important to note that 99 percent of your contribution stays local.

Our goals are ambitious, but with your help, and by utilizing our core strengths — a national network, committed local partners and public engagement capacity — we will achieve them.

— United Way of Southern West Virginia 2013-2014 Campaign Chair Frank Wood is publisher of Beckley Newspapers.