Now, more than ever, we must ‘Live United’

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Over the last few weeks across Greenville County, you may have noticed a growing number of blue T-shirts with two simple words printed in bold white letters across the front: “Live United.”

The shirts are mementos for United Way donors and volunteers who have answered the call to action on the front to make a difference in our community. It’s a very powerful thing when a diverse group of people and organizations come together to accomplish a common goal, and through United Way and our 2017 campaign for our community, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

In September, we officially kicked off our campaign with a goal of raising $17 million for United Way programs and initiatives.

Generous community support has helped this year’s effort surpass 80 percent of that goal so far. As we approach the end of this year’s campaign, there’s still time to contribute. Now more than ever a successful campaign is critically important for our community.

The message of this year’s campaign is “United we fight, United we win,” because we believe our community is worth fighting for.

On the surface, it may seem that we’ve already won – our economy is strong, overall unemployment is low, and we can hardly keep up with all of the growth emanating from downtown. Sometimes it feels like not a week goes by before another national organization or media outlet is selecting Greenville County as one of the best places to visit or live in America.

At United Way, we’re fighting to make that true for all of our neighbors, because unfortunately, the prosperity of Greenville County has not reached all of us.

Right now, 1 in 3 people in our community can’t meet basic financial needs; 1,200 people are homeless; 70,000 of our neighbors, including 20,000 children, live in poverty; and 1 in 6 families have food insecurity and are facing hunger.

These are big problems that require big solutions, the kind that United Way is uniquely positioned to address because we work with the entire community to bring together resources, focus investments, and foster diverse partnerships. And rather than focusing on a single agency or issue, United Way strategically invests donor support in a partnership of more than 97 local programs and initiatives that work hand in hand to impact big issues that no single organization can solve on its own.

Last year, more than 100,000 people in Greenville County were helped by United Way investments. Because we know the significant impact we can make, we’re asking the whole community to get involved with this year’s campaign.

If you don’t work at a company that holds a United Way workplace campaign, we ask you to visit unitedwaygc.org to pledge your support online, or you can even download our new app from the App Store to give via Apple Pay or sign up for a volunteer project.

If you would like to hold a campaign at your office, just contact United Way at 864-467-3333 and we will get you connected to this important cause.

In a time of so much division, it can’t hurt to think about the words on the front of those blue “Live United” shirts, live the slogan, and spread that message of unity.

As volunteers and donors of United Way, we’re uniting to make our community better for everyone, and we are working side by side to achieve it. When we do, we will once again prove that Greenville is worthy of the “best place” designations.

Michael Cinquemani, CEO of Master Power Transmission, is chair of the United Way of Greenville County board of trustees.

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