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August 29, 2021I Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

One of the largest area fundraising initiatives of the year officially got under way this past week with the curtain rising on the Lubbock Area United Way’s 75th Anniversary Campaign.

The event reminds us of the sustained and transformational impact of an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for everyone in the community through its mission of Giving People Hope.

For those who may not know, local United Way records report that on Aug. 28, 1946, the Lubbock Community Chest was established in an effort to consolidate fundraising efforts for a handful of local nonprofit organizations devoted to serving the local citizenry.

Decades later, the Lubbock Area United Way continues this important community endeavor. Over the next three months, a sizable contingent of volunteers will be tasked with raising funds to meet this year’s goal of almost $5.9 million. That figure was announced by 2021 Campaign Chairman Mark Griffin with Rip Griffin Companies.

Griffin’s longtime service to community is well-documented, and we express our gratitude for his leadership this year as the local United Way reflects on its rich history and looks forward to raising funds to support its 23 community partners that provide a framework of support touching lives day after day.

The campaign chairman alluded to that during remarks at the kickoff event in the Memorial Civic Center. “Find your story that drives you to support United Way and its community partners,” he said. “Because your story is a thread in a tapestry of thousands of stories that make up who United Way is and why we continue in our mission of Giving People Hope.”

Those efforts received an early injection of support Thursday as officials announced more than $800,000 had been raised in the Jump Start Division featuring seven highly successful local workplace campaigns.

The Lubbock Area United Way has been a consistent beacon of hope for this community. Partner agencies stand in the gaps and meet people where they are. Odds are many of you are familiar with some of the higher-profile agencies such as the local Red Cross, the Boys & Girls Clubs and the Salvation Army.

With others, though, you may not have as much familiarity. We encourage you to learn about agencies such as Guadalupe-Parkway Neighborhood Centers, Communities in Schools on the South Plains, the Parenting Cottage, Upbring and Voice of Hope. Each has a special mission in this community and a special place in the hearts of those touched by their expertise and compassion.

Learn more about Lubbock Area United Way’s Community Partners

The local United Way has come a long way while taking on some of the most stubborn community challenges such as poverty, inequity in education, family and personal violence and mental health care. The United Way and its partner agencies have also had boots on the ground throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, addressing its many impacts over the last 18 months.

According to information from the United Way, that first fundraising campaign lasted one week in November 1946 and raised more than $90,000 to support seven nonprofits. In the years since, more than $193 million has been raised, and several individual campaigns have topped $6 million. Figures indicate more than 100,000 people are impacted by community partner services each year.

That is one impressive legacy – and a 75-year reminder of the generosity of people who call Lubbock home. People have seen the need, been moved by it and been motivated to do something about it.

We express our congratulations to the Lubbock Area United Way on this milestone moment and thank all of those who have supported it with time, talent and treasure through the years. We look forward to a successful campaign and encourage people to continue supporting its efforts.

Indeed, it is remarkable what the local United Way has done, none of which would have been possible without local people catching the vision, stepping up and supporting it with their financial contributions.

The spirit of this community was captured in a recent commentary piece from Glenn Cochran, CEO of the local United Way, who shared a quote from J.T. Talkington during a board of directors meeting: “Lubbock was built on a foundation of capable citizens who have been willing to give of their time and energies with only one purpose in mind – to build a better Lubbock.”

Those words were spoken in 1957. They still apply today.

Together we can build a better future. Donate today!

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