Kevin Greiner, left, chairman of the 2012 United Way of Metro Atlanta campaign, chats with Claire Cline, United Way regional director, and Tom Harrison, chairman of the 2012 United Way advisory Board in Rockdale County. The three spoke at a campaign kick-off luncheon Thursday at Corner Market. Staff Photo: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
CONYERS -- The United Way in Rockdale County kicked off its 2012 fund-raising campaign Thursday at a joint meeting of the Rotary Club of Rockdale County and the Rotary Club of Conyers.
At a luncheon catered by Jim 'N Nicks Bar-B-Q at Corner Market, community and United Way leaders praised the collaboration that exists between United Way and supporting business, civic and government organizations. As a case in point, it was noted that the Rotary Clubs have sponsored the United Way kickoff in Rockdale County for nearly 30 years.
Tom Harrison, chairman of the 2012 United Way Advisory Board, said a fund-raising goal has not yet been set for this campaign, which will run through June 2013. Last year's goal was slightly more than $313,200. The annual United Way campaign in Rockdale County benefits local nonprofit agencies that provide services addressing health care, education and homelessness.
Kevin Greiner, president and chief executive officer of Gas South, was the keynote speaker for Thursday's kickoff event. Greiner, who serves as the 2012 campaign chair for the United Way of Metro Atlanta, said United Way's four key areas -- education, income, health and homelessness -- must be addressed in order to improve outcomes for needy residents in the community.
Greiner said United Way of Rockdale has partnered with effective social service agencies and organizations in the community in the past in order to have positive impacts on those who need services -- namely the Boys & Girls Club, Rockdale Emergency Relief, Phoenix Pass and the Rockdale County School System.
"All these things are about collaboration and couldn't occur without the partnerships the United Way has with these organizations," he said.
Through United Way's 2-1-1 service, a data base of assistance programs and services, the agency has been able to collaborate and co-manage the delivery of services to those in need, Greiner said.
He noted that Gas South was able to work with United Way and other agencies to find a way to serve customers who could not get gas service due to bad credit or other factors. Greiner said in 2008 Gas South found that 50 percent of its applicants were turned away because they didn't meet credit requirements for gas service or did not have the required deposits.
That 50 percent of lost customers was a problem for the business, Greiner said, "but we also realized that it represented a very large societal problem."
By analyzing the reasons that applicants were turned down for service, Gas South was able to establish a pay-as-you-go program that enables the under-served to get gas service and rebuild their credit.
Greiner said the pay-as-you-program has been a tremendous success for Gas South and its customers.
"Without United Way support, there is no way our program could have experienced the success it has and benefitted all those who have received our services," he said.