United Way of Greater Union County Community Campaign: Paying it Forward for the Greater Good of Others

As change continues to spread throughout Union County, communities are rising from the embers of an economic paralysis to ones that are vibrant and hopeful with opportunity again. That is the thrust behind the 2015 United Way of Greater Union County Community Campaign - now in full swing - to create and enhance lifestyle changes that strengthen families and build strong communities. 

Indeed, the community impact model, thanks to people caring about people, has taken root and is growing.  Throughout Union County, campaigns are being waged, with some being projected to exceed last year’s outcome, such as Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, which raised over $30,000 last year and has set a goal of $35,000 for this year.

Clearly, there is nothing more satisfying to the human spirit than knowing you helped someone in need, while also enriching and encouraging a progressive lifestyle. That was the basis for the creation of the Family Success Centers. These Centers, which are located in Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, Plainfield and Roselle, are places residents can go to access social services that are vital to their well-being, and information beneficial to increasing stability. In fact, UWGUC is expanding its outreach to families by opening two additional Family Success Centers in Rahway and Union. 

As an example, Target Store employees in Linden, Union, Vauxhall and Clark are on board for this year’s employee contribution campaign. In addition, Macy’s employees, from the Plainfield store, were instrumental in collecting school supplies for UWGUC’s “Stuff the Bus,” back to school campaign. For their anticipated participation and contributions, Macy’s employees will receive incentives, from $250 gift cards and a trip to this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, to a 13-night vacation for four in Key West, Florida. These incentives are creatively revving things up to get everyone involved in its UWGUC employee contribution campaign.

These campaigns will support UWGUC’s initiatives such as “Focus on Families” and a youth employment and training program (YETP).  UWGUC is spearheading these programs, which have become a game changer in the lives of many. By integrating economic and workforce development into communities, “Focus on Families” will provide families with opportunities to increase the quality of their lives.  The YETP program, for youth ages 16-24 and funded by the Union County Workforce Investment Board, is underway with an emphasis on providing workplace readiness skills and counseling to young people.

“When people are united in a worthy cause they will rise to the occasion to meet the challenge and essentially that is what we’re seeing in Union County.   Community members from all sectors, including our corporate partners and its employees, are paying it forward and we’re seeing positive outcomes,” said, James W. Horne, Jr., President/CEO, UWGUC.  

That message is also echoed in the philosophy of First Energy and also in Jersey Central Power & Light Company, which states, “The Greater Good is Better Business, and we do so by reaching out to help our neighbors and friends, and by supporting the communities where we live and work.” 

In addition, AGL Resources a subsidiary of Elizabethtown Gas and 2015 UWGUC Celebration honoree kicked of their 2015 UWGUC Campaign.  This year Gary Marmo, Director of New Business Development, took the lead as their campaign chair. The campaign kick-off included presentations to local Union County employees and will be followed up with a Chili Cook Off contest event and weekly raffles for several prizes including Beats Headphones by Dr. Dre, Fitbit, and an Xbox Gaming System to name a few.

In another part of the county, UWGUC President & CEO, James W. Horne, Jr. spoke to a group of Wells Fargo executives who wanted to hear about the more pressing issues facing our community.  The Executives were eager to learn how they can help change the odds in our community with the United Way. Wells Fargo kicked off their campaign on September 1st and has consistently been the highest ranked United Way campaign on a national level for six consecutive years.

To find out how you can start your own campaign, please visit www.uwguc.org. To donate, visit https://www.uwguc.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=1