President's Message Annual Meeting 2018

February 2018

As President of United Way of Rockbridge, I reflect on the past year as a time of strategic planning for the future. I have had the support of a wonderful executive director and a talented, enthusiastic, and determined Board of Directors who work with me to make our community a better place to live.
We have continued to review and update our policies with thoughts to long-range organizational sustainment. Additionally, we explored and tested new approaches that target our fundraising campaign to specific audiences. Through this, we are attempting to appeal more directly to younger donors and newcomers in the area and to increase the membership of our honored General’s Club.  When this current campaign ends we’ll have some concept of the level of our success.
During the past year, we funded significant community successes. We provided grant monies that allowed twenty-two programs to be carried out by eighteen different local agencies. Many of these success stories are detailed further in this report.
The UWR recognizes its strength is in the partnerships we can build. To that end, we began holding board meetings at some of our agency locations to gain a better understanding of their organization and how we can assist. We hope to participate even more in this manner moving forward.
The United Way of Rockbridge also received a very substantial bequest from the estate of two long time and supportive donors.  This bequest equaled a typical year of fundraising for us. We have spent considerable time reflecting, discussing, analyzing, brainstorming, and researching the best use of this significant donation. To honor Ellen Charske and Marge and Chuck Phillips, we know we must make a strong and healthy decision.
I look forward with trepidation because I know the needs of our community are many and pressing. We’re unsure of what the new tax law may mean for us in our fundraising efforts going forward, but we do know we will continue to work diligently to fulfill our mission.
Holt Merchant,
UWR Board President, February 22, 2018