KINGSPORT, TENNESSEE – The United Ways of Northeast Tennessee collectively kicked off fundraising campaigns across the region on Friday, August 14, 2020. Hosted virtually by United Way of Greater Kingsport, and sponsored by HomeTrust Bank, United Ways in the region announced their total goal of raising $6,000,000 for the health, education and financial stability of our communities. The campaign theme of “United We’re Strong” held true through this announcement.
The event opened with a welcome by United Way of Greater Kingsport’s Executive Director, Danelle Glasscock, followed by Dobyns-Bennett’s high school band performing a rendition of “Within the Castle Walls.” Eastman Engineering Manager and 2020 UWGK Board President Keith Parker, then took over as the virtual event host. Parker then introduced Girl Scout Troup 463 to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Eastman’s Tanya Foreman then took the virtual stage to introduce the event’s keynote speaker, Tennessee Chancellor, Donde Plowman. Chancellor Plowman delivered a memorable keynote speech on the impact that United Way has had on her. “United Way moves me, nudges me, helps me step forward and go ahead and do it. Act and make a difference,” states Chancellor Plowman. She went on to talk about how United Way can bring individuals together to collectively identify and solve community problems.
Following Chancellor Plowman was Matt Marshall, United Way of West Tennessee President/CEO. Marshall also serves as the Chair of the Anti-Poverty Task Force for the City of Jackson, the Chair of the Jackson-Madison County Equity Project and is a member of the United Way Worldwide Black CEO Alliance. Marshall spoke to the history and struggles that his family history endured, but gave a statement of hope and confidence by saying “I too dare to dream…We work to see our community be more equitable.”
Corey Webb of HomeTrust Bank took the stage next. Webb expressed his appreciation to be a part of the United Way and the work involved. Webb then announced the corporate donation of $3,000 to the United Ways of Northeast Tennessee for the 2020 campaign. The gift will be split evenly among the 5 United Ways in Northeast Tennessee.
Willie McClain, Eastman Senior Vice President and CFO then took the stage as Eastman was recognized for their 100 year anniversary. Beth Rhinehart also addressed the crowd and gave recognition and expressed appreciation to a number of companies who were vital to the COVID-19 Relief Fund. These companies included Appalachian Electric Power Foundation, Truist Foundation, Eastman Credit Union, Food City, TEC Industrial, Eastman Foundation, and First Horizon Bank.
This all led to the large announcement of the day. Each United Way announced their local fundraising goal as follows: United Way of Greater Kingsport, $3 million; United Way of Bristol TN/VA, $1 million; United Way of East TN Highlands, $1,500,000; United Way of Greene County, $350,000; and United Way of Hawkins County, $150,000. The cumulative regional goal is $6 million.
Individuals, companies, or organizations interested in learning more about United Way’s work or investing in the community through United Way are encouraged to contact their local United Way for opportunities to give, advocate, and volunteer.