Photographer: David Crigger/ BHC


Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:08 pm | Updated: 1:48 am, Thu Aug 14, 2014.


BRISTOL, Va. — University of Tennessee President Emeritus Dr. Joe Johnson addressed regional leaders of the United Way Wednesday afternoon, giving them a pep talk for their annual multi-million-dollar fundraising campaigns.
He commended the group for the miles they cover and the number of people who receive help from the various agencies that will receive the contributions collected in the 2014-15 fund drive, which organization officials announced will have a goal of $9.4 million across the Mountain Empire chapters.

Johnson, who spoke during a kickoff at Holiday Inn in Bristol, Virginia, said it will take talented leaders to reach that goal because there are thousands in the communities in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia who count on the services provided for an improved quality of life.

“To be successful in fundraising requires several characteristics. One of them, you have to have a passion for whatever it is you are seeking to raise money for,” he said. “You have to have a pretty good understanding of what you are raising this money for. … We all need to contribute ourselves. The hardest part of fundraising is you have to have the courage to ask for the dollar.”

United Way of Bristol Community Chairwoman Lola McVey announced Wednesday that the goal this year will be $1.4 million—the same amount the agency achieved in the last campaign.

The group has 28 partnerships with agencies that will benefit from the contributions, including Abuse Alternatives, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Sequoyah Council of the Boy Scouts, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Sullivan County and Healing Hands Health Center.

McVey is encouraging local businesses to challenge their employees to donate and meet that with a corporate match.

“We invite people to find out more about us and see what agencies we support and what they do,” she said. “Even if it is just $1, it is a dollar closer to our goal.”

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