United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Announces 2020 Campaign Chairs | United Way of Southern Chautauqua County

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United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Announces 2020 Campaign Chairs

United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Announces 2020 Campaign Chairs

Several of the 2020 Campaign Chairs pictured above, socially distanced behind the National Comedy Center
United Way of Southern Chautauqua County would ordinarily announce their Campaign Chair in early summer as part of the extraordinary preparation that goes into planning and implementing a fundraising campaign of more than $1.3 million each year. It probably goes without saying that this has been no ordinary year. “The impacts of COVID-19 to our community have been significant,” said Executive Director Amy Rohler, “and our local United Way has also been affected.” Rohler added that United Way of Southern Chautauqua County took a key leadership role in the non-profit sector during COVID, helping organizations coordinate activities and access resources during the crisis. They coordinated COVID volunteer opportunities, distributions of face masks and provided a real-time resource guide.  “United Way was built for exactly this kind of work,” said Rohler.
The challenge was pivoting from COVID crisis to finding the right volunteer leader who would be willing to lead the 2020 Campaign, which the staff knew would be difficult in a year where the economy and businesses were struggling. Moreover, 2020 marked the organization’s 100th anniversary, and many of their plans to celebrate this milestone had been postponed due to COVID. It was a volunteer role that Rohler could not imagine that anyone would want. And then inspiration struck. “What if we didn’t just have one campaign chair to shoulder the burden of raising more than million dollars?” said Rohler, “What if it were a role shared by many people—community members that were willing to come together, roll up their sleeves and get to the work of rebuilding and recovering?” Rohler began her own work of approaching former campaign chairs, all of whom had run campaigns before – from 1975 to 2019 – and asking if they would be willing to help out. “There wasn’t anyone that said no,” said UWSCC Board President Dave Painter, “everyone was excited to get to work and even willing to brainstorm ideas for how to be creative with this year’s fundraising.”
Instead of one campaign chair, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County found twenty-eight. They are pleased to officially announce the following individuals who are the 2020 Campaign Chairs:
John Nord (1975)
Dudley Ericson (1977)
Peter B. Sullivan (1978)
Rhoe B. Henderson III (1980)
James M. Smith (1981)
Craig Colburn (1984)
Dr. Lillian Ney (1990)
Michael Metzger (1992)
Hadley Weinberg (2001)
John & Marie Plumb (2004)
Cindy Aronson & Holly Sullivan (2005)
Steve Maggio (2007)
Mike Roberts (2008)
Dr. Christopher Colburn (2009)
Tom Schmidt (2010)
Kathy Grace (Tim) and Lorraine Diggs (2011)
Vince Horrigan (2012)
Deb & Deke Kathman (2013)
Hans Auer (2015)
Anne & Paul Hedin (2016)
Jane Cleaver Becker (2017)
Kurt Eimiller (2018)
John I.  LaMancuso (2019)
“The theme for the year’s campaign is UNITED WE RISE,” said Director of Marketing Cynde Johnson, “and our 28 campaign chairs working together in a challenging year powerfully symbolizes the theme.” In addition, the message will be county-wide. United Way of Northern Chautauqua County and Southern Chautauqua County are joining forces this year, and sharing the same theme. They will also be doing a joint campaign kickoff.
The fundraising goal for the 2020 Campaign is $1.2 million, which is invested in 43 programs that align with four priorities: ensuring that families are self-sufficient, everyone is ready to work, young people succeed in school, and those in need can find help. Last year, United Way programs made a positive impact more than 23,000 times. One hundred percent of all donations remain in Chautauqua County.
United Way of Southern Chautauqua County officially kicks off its campaign on Wednesday, September 16 at 1pm. Community members are encouraged to watch the kickoff via Facebook LIVE. “it’s a virtual kickoff,” said Johnson, “but it’s going to be pretty compelling because we’ve engaged a variety of our business and community partners to pull it off.” Although there will be challenges to the 2020 campaign, UWSCC staff are proud that the COVID crisis is pushing them to be more innovative—using virtual and technology tools to reach donors. “There’s been a lot of changes this year,” Rohler observed, “but not everything has changed. People still need our help. Problems still need to get solved. Our community still has volunteers willing to step up when the need is there. That hasn’t changed.”