By Todd Cohen
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — United Way of Cumberland County has named a new president and CEO, and kicked off its annual fund drive.
Robert Hines, former campaign manager for three years at United Way of Northeastern New York in Albany who was a marketing executive for 24 years with Amoco Oil, started work in August as the organization’s top executive.
United Way has not set a monetary goal for the drive, which last year raised $1,873,000, excluding government employees, and fell short of its goal of $2,136,000.
This year’s drive no longer includes the campaign among military personnel and federal and state employees.
“Our goal is to have a greater impact on the community,” says Adrian Reeder, vice president of resource development. “To make a greater impact, we need to see increases in donations.”
Key strategies for the drive include working to increase individual gifts of $1,000 or more, which last year totaled $171,000, down about $20,000 from the previous year, and to increase the number of companies holding workplace campaigns, which last year totaled 120.
Bill Bowman, publisher of Up & Coming Weekly/Primelife Magazine, chairs the drive and the effort to enlist new workplace campaigns, while the effort to recruit larger gifts is co-chaired by Esperanza and Bill Martin, president of the Cumberland County Business Council.
Hines says his strategy will be to better educate the public about local health and human-service needs, and about the role of United Way and its 25 member agencies in meeting those needs.
“United Way is focused on the bottom-line results, the lives we change and the communities we shape,” he says. “We know that’s what matters to the public.”
Cumberland County, for example, has the highest number of individuals with diabetes among North Carolina’s 100 counties, and trails only a handful of counties in the United States in the number of people with the disease, he says.
“We hope to educate people at a younger age, so if they have diabetes at an early age, we can curtail it,” he says.
As part of his broad effort to raise awareness about United Way and needs it addresses, Hines has started to meet with employees of local banks and with faculty groups at local public schools.
The Cumberland County Schools, which last year raised more than $235,000, up $12,000 from a year earlier, is the drive’s biggest workplace campaign.
Based on a survey last fall of more than 4,000 households and 100 community leaders, United Way this year is adding efforts to fight family violence, both adult and child abuse, as a focus area that will be supported with unrestricted donations to its general “community care fund.”
Other focus areas supported by the fund include basic needs; children and youth; families and neighborhoods; health and healing; and independence among the elderly and disabled.
“What we’re really emphasizing this year is that, through donations to United Way, you’re supporting over 90 local programs and services” at member agencies, Reeder says.