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United Way 'Creating Change' with new season Aug. 21
United Way raffle table IMG 9574
A few of United Way's raffle items at the 2013 kickoff event. - photo by File Photo

The United Way of Greater Atlanta is all set to kick off its annual fundraising campaign next week in Rockdale.

The goal of this year's campaign is simple, said Claire Cline, regional director of United Way for Henry, Butts and Rockdale Counties. They want to raise "more than we raised last year."

"We have a baseline of $170,000. That's how much we want to raise and then more," she said. "The goal for 2014 has not been set and probably won't be set until Sept. 1."

In 2013, United Way raised a total of $268,000 in Rockdale which was spread throughout the community to different partner organizations. Achieving a modest increase of at least $5,000 over last year's total could be a realistic goal for the non-profit organization.

But, she would also love to see the United Way in Rockdale return to its glory days, before the Great Recession hit five years ago, when annual campaigns generated upwards of $300,000.

"That would be over the top," said Cline if United Way hit the $300,000 mark this year. "We could call that supreme success."

To help the campaign, the United Way is soliciting new contributors and businesses that've never run a United Way campaign to join the effort. The organization also wants to broaden the reach of existing campaigns.

United Way still has some of its major contributors and businesses returning and will once again host its annual barbecue fundraiser in partnership with Jim ‘N Nicks and Rockdale Career Academy on Sept. 25, which brings in nearly $30,000.

"We're beginning to move out of (the Great Recession)," said Cline. "Last year was great, so we'll see what happens this year."

The "United Way in Rockdale County 2014 Campaign Kickoff" starts August 21 at 11:30 a.m. in the East Wing of the Rockdale Medical Center, 1412 Milstead Avenue.

Food will be served and campaign contributors in 2013 will be acknowledged. There will be three speakers as well.

The theme of the campaign this year is "Creating Community Change," which is being used with hopes of inspiring people to take their community to another level.

Whether you're addressing a community need such as cleaning the streets or helping an unemployed person find a job or helping that unemployed person obtain the skills to get a job, says Cline, people should just do something to elevate your community.