United Way of Greenville Co. sets $17 million goal to help local non-profits

Today marked the kick-off of the United Way of Greenville campaign to help fund non-profit programs that keep our community strong.

The goal is to raise $17 million dollars in just a few months.

More than 1000 volunteers and representatives from 600 businesses got a chance to hear about all the many programs and essential services supported by United Way.

The fundraising effort is chaired this year by Kurt Rozelsky.

“There are programs that are helping people from every stage of their life from infant programs to senior citizen program, but it’s all money staying here in Greenville,” said Rozelsky, an attorney with Smith Moore Leatherwood.

The crowd was sobered by statistics on poverty and the homeless, even as Greenville prospers. 1200 don’t have a home, and 70,000 live in poverty including 20,000 children in just Greenville County alone.

The event also highlighted people helped by non-profits, like Kady Jacobs who sought guidance from the Julie Valentine Center after her 8-year-old was molested by a family member.

“Once my son finally opened up and disclosed exactly what had taken place at the home, you know, it was just important that I let him know, we cannot do this by ourselves, we’re going to have to seek help to get through this,” said Jacobs.

18-year-old Isaac Langdon, is another beneficiary of the non-profit services. He joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters program when he was 9 and met Rommel Mandap.

“It’s grown from like being big brothers, to like fathers son,” said Langdon.

Some companies have already begun raising thousands like First Citizens Bank. Company managers used a pie face competition to motivate donors.

“At the end we ended up calling it even and we ended up both doing the pie in the face,” said Mary Ann Gilbert, with First Citizens.

United Way of Greenville County also launched a new app today that allows you to easily donate, and share photos of your fundraising experience. And the organization hopes people will encourage others to donate with the hashtag: #17for17.