High Point United Way eyes modest increase

By Todd Cohen

HIGH POINT, N.C. — TransTech Pharma and The Scope Exchange, both in North High Point, will hold workplace campaigns for the first time this year for United Way of Greater High Point.

The two firms, with roughly 275 employees combined, are among nearly a dozen that United Way officials are counting on for this year’s annual fundraising drive.

“Collectively, hopefully they will help offset erosion in more traditional businesses that have downsized or gone away,” says Bobby Smith, United Way president

The drive, chaired by Jeff Miller, president of High Point Regional Health System, kicked off Sept. 16 with two days of volunteerism at United Way agencies.

The goal for drive is $4.1 million, up from $3.97 million raised last year that exceeded its goal by $20,000.

Achieving that increase will depend on better results from smaller and mid-sized employers, Smith says, and from markets in which United Way is making a special push, including North High Point, Jamestown, Archdale and Trinity.

“We feel like we continue to make progress in areas we identified a few years ago where we were weak,” he says.

United Way will continue to target firms in the business and industrial parks along the N.C. 68 corridor in North High Point that likely will grow because of the new Dell plant and the FedEx plant scheduled to open in 2009, both in Forsyth County, Smith says.

“They represent new industries, and those that are strategic to our future,” he says.

The Scope Exchange, for example, repairs and refurbishes endoscopy equipment, and will benefit from being able to ship it quickly to any location, Smith says.

United Way also is targeting donors making larger gifts, with a goal of adding at least five new donors giving $10,000 or more each.

Last year, 58 donors made gifts at that level totaling just over $654,000, says Michelle Caldwell, vice president for resource development.

And for the second straight year, David Congdon, president and chief operating officer of Old Dominion Freight Line in Thomasville, is chairing the effort to secure gifts of $1,000 or more.

Old Dominion, which last year had 59 employees giving at that level, the most of any employer, already has 66 employees this year who have given at that level.

The company last year received a challenge cup United Way awarded for the first time to the employer with the most employees giving $1,000 or more, and United Way this year named the award the Old Dominion Challenge Cup.

In the first early “pacesetter” campaign of this year’s drive, High Point Regional Health System raised $186,000, up from $162,000 it raised last year.

United Way also has lined up nearly 30 loaned executives for this year’s drive, up from 20 last year.

That volunteer corps will boost the effort to reach smaller employers, Smith says.

“The more we have,” he says, “the more we can reach down and focus on accounts that don’t have a giving history or are new.”

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