United Way Looks for Leaders

Jennifer McNulty

FLORENCE — The United Way of Northwest Alabama is in the unique position of having two capital campaigns take place during the pandemic.

The first campaign–for 2019-20–ended in June and resulted in total contributions of $750,000. It fell short of its $1 million goal. 

“We were grateful to have collected that amount, especially given the fact that the United Way was without an executive director or campaign manager for part of that time,” said Jennifer McNulty, who took the reins as executive director in December 2019.

With COVID-19 hitting hard beginning last March, the campaign’s focus diversified somewhat. The United Way’s attention turned in large part toward helping area non-profits navigate the financial hardships of shutdowns across the region it serves.

A COVID fund was established and raised $80,000 during the remainder of the year for struggling non-profits. 

The 2020-21 United Way campaign kicked off last September again with a goal of $1 million to fund the 19 partner agencies and the 22 programs which fall under their auspices.

This year’s campaign for the most part is being handled virtually. That approach already looks promising.

So far, the campaign has raised $270,000. 

And while corporate giving isn’t at the level she’d prefer, there is light on the horizon.

“We’re not doing as well as we were four years ago at this time, but we’re further ahead of where we were last year at this time,” she said.

The campaign will go until June.

Aside from corporate giving, there have been special fundraisers along the way, including an online music showcase set for next month.

There have been other generous donations as well, including an anonymous donor matching new leadership donations dollar for dollar.

That same donor is matching any increases in repeat donations.

For example, if someone’s donation increases from $1,000 to $1,500, the donor will match $500.

So far, $20,000 in new and increased leadership donations is eligible for the match.

McNulty said there’s still uncertainty surrounding workplace campaigns, but United Way employees and volunteers are willing to meet in person or virtually with employers.

“We have ambassadors calling on companies and we’re doing it all safely, adhering to pandemic safety protocol,” she said. “We’re really pushing for leadership giving.”

Call McNulty at 256-764-5892 for details.