It’s hard to believe that we are already gearing up for the 2021 United Way campaign! Last year we were able to impact over 46,000 lives right here in Whitfield and Murray counties. With great impact comes great responsibility. We are following the charismatic energy of 2020 campaign co-chairs Chuck and Jody McClurg and their success amidst a difficult year. They are definitely a hard act to follow, but Isabel and I are ready to take on this challenge!
In 2001, my family and I relocated to Dalton from Tucson, Arizona. We didn’t know anyone or have family here, so it was a little overwhelming. While at church, I met Elbert Shaw, and later that week, he came by our house and dropped off a homemade pecan pie. He expressed his love for Dalton, the people and the community. He inspired me to ask a very simple question: “What can I do to help?”
Elbert was heavily involved with United Way. What I didn’t know at the time is that United Way’s purpose and mission are to support multiple charitable organizations and community services throughout Northwest Georgia. This made the daunting task of who and how I help much easier. United Way makes my dollar go further and knows where the greatest needs are. That made me feel like I could really make a difference. Twenty years later, it’s the reason why I give and support United Way of Northwest Georgia.
I have seen all the good work that United Way has done through the years which makes it easier to be an advocate who’s very passionate about the mission of United Way: Improving lives. Inspiring donors. Uniting community.
I want to introduce you to my co-chair for the 2021 campaign, Isabel Pimentel. Isabel is a great friend and colleague, and I can’t imagine having anyone else by my side to help me lead this campaign. When I asked how her United Way journey began, Isabel replied:
“I worked at United Way community partner The GreenHouse as a coordinator and SART, Sexual Assault Response Team, Advocate, and loved it. When my journey as a SART came to a close in December 2012, I was voted in as a board member. Working alongside The GreenHouse, I saw firsthand how United Way funding helped provide essential services such as therapy, advocacy, forensic interviews and training for victims of sexual assault and their non-offending family members. I was also fortunate enough to witness how child victims and their non-offending family members were able to overcome traumatic events. With the support of United Way, they have been able to continue to provide these essential services.”
Isabel and I are working with United Way to enrich lives by improving the education, basic needs, and health of everyone in our community. There are so many ways to support United Way ... you can give, advocate and volunteer, just to name a few.
We are igniting this season of giving back to our community with our virtual campaign kickoff and goal announcement at 6 p.m. on Tuesday on Facebook (@unitedwaynwga). This is such a great opportunity for our community to see what United Way is all about. We invite you to join us!
United Way isn’t about short-term charity — it’s about lasting change. This is our home and our community, and what we do for others matters. That’s the power of community!
Isabel Pimentel and Mike Sanderson are the campaign co-chairs of the 2021 United Way of Northwest Georgia campaign.