STEUBENVILLE -In the end, it took a community that cares for the United Way of Jefferson County to meet its fundraising goal of $440,000 to be shared with its 19 member agencies.
That's what it all boiled down to, according to United Way officials during a press conference Friday at the agency headquarters announcing the news. From a Zumbathon held June 22 at Harding Stadium, to a Phone-a-thon on Feb. 12 at Eastern Gateway Community College, the fundraising season was successful and will enable the agency and its member agencies to assist those in need for the coming year, according to Anthony Mougianis, United Way campaign chairman for the past two years.
"This is the culmination of two years of hard work," said Mougianis. "It's been a real labor of love. It's always a challenge to fundraise."
Mougianis said meeting and slightly exceeding the agency goals for two years in a row was remarkable considering the local economy, unemployment and need in Jefferson County. He said the success displayed the kind of caring people living in Jefferson County.
"These 19 (member) agencies are going to help a lot of people in all walks of life," he said. "We topped record years for two years in a row.
"For our little city and economy, this is a great feat for Jefferson County," continued Mougianis. "I'm very proud of the work we've done here for the United Way. My dad used to say, 'You win with people.' It's really a team here, and we've won with these people."
Mougianis said this would be his last year as chairman, but he would assume the post of board president in the future, so "I'll still be around, doing what I can for the United Way."
Beth Rupert-Warren, United Way executive director, said it's all about people helping people, and she was impressed and gratified during her first full year of service for the agency.
"To me, this is just like Christmas," she said. "When you look at this, it really shows what the community here is all about. This is the heart of the community."
Rupert-Warren said the diversity of the volunteers, staff and member agencies was the reason for the fundraiser's success and the community's strength. She added anyone wondering whether to locate to Jefferson County should just look at the success of the United Way and its member agencies.
Dave France, United Way Board president, echoed Mougianis and Rupert-Warren's comments.
"For me personally I feel proud to be part of this organization," said France. "It's a team effort, and everyone here works together."
France said the campaign this year had some new faces that brought "a new energy" to the campaign.
Mougianis added the United Way is a different kind of agency.
"This United Way board is a unique board," he said. "I sit on a lot of boards, and this one is different in that it's all about caring about people. There's no other board that's so pro-caring for people."
The United Way is at 511 N. Fourth St. For information, call (740) 284-9000 or go to www.unitedway-jc.org.