Greater Valdosta United Way surpasses their million dollar goal in only 4 months

Video from WALB
Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 5:49 PM EST
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Greater Valdosta United Way says it has been over a decade since they have hosted a campaign as successful as the one they just finished.

It took Greater Valdosta United Way only four months to surpass a goal set to help raise money for nonprofits throughout South Georgia.

Greater Valdosta United Way (GVUW) has reached 105% of its million-dollar goal. Now that they’ve reached this goal, the new funding will start for their partnered nonprofits on March 1st.

GVUW held interviews for two days with partnered and non-partnered nonprofits to understand their needs and tie that to the funding they have available.

“The nonprofits that are awarded for their programs will receive equal payments over 10 months from March 1st through December to support the programs for 2023,” Michael Smith, president and CEO of GVUW, said.

Michael Smith, CEO of Greater Valdosta United Way, thanks the community for coming together to...
Michael Smith, CEO of Greater Valdosta United Way, thanks the community for coming together to help them surpass their goal.(Source: WALB)

The director for LAMP Homeless Shelter in Valdosta is one partnered nonprofit that interviewed for funding. They say they can’t be more thankful for Greater Valdosta United Way and its efforts.

“Well, uniting for more means exactly what it says. We’re uniting together for more. More opportunities, more affordable housing, more ways to help those that are hurting, and homeless.” Yurshema Flanders, director for LAMP Homeless Shelter, said. “Pulling together in the community, seeing there’s a need, and going above and beyond just makes you very proud to be a part of Valdosta.”

Yurshema Flanders is the director of LAMP Homeless Shelter in Valdosta.
Yurshema Flanders is the director of LAMP Homeless Shelter in Valdosta.(Source: WALB)

Right now, GVUW has 20 partnered nonprofits that will benefit from this funding. The Miracle League of Valdosta is another nonprofit organization that will receive some of the campaign’s funding.

“United Way does a lot for our community.” Andy Gibbs, founder and director of The Miracle League Valdosta, said. “As far as going out and making more folks aware of what they do and how hard they work to give back to our non-profits. Money that we get from them can completely go back to our kids. It completely goes back to our adults. It goes back to our athletes.”

This was the first year Greater Valdosta United Way held its ‘Uniting for More’ campaign. Smith says this campaign is community driven. Based on the needs of the region each year.

“Our key funding areas and focus areas now are mental health training and awareness, basic needs, housing and sheltering, after-school programming, and exercise educations and experiences. So those are the kind of areas that we try to align our dollars to the work,” Smith said.

Flanders says they will use this funding to help alleviate some of the inflation they’ve been encountering — while trying to uphold the shelter.

“Groceries of course are higher, and our population is running about 52 in the shelter. So that’s a lot to feed; as well as getting them birth certificates and work clothes.” Flanders said. “Providing transportation, even after-hours transportation.”

Several non-profits told said they’re proud to be a partner of GVUW and the Valdosta-Lowndes community.

“Thank you to United Way for their diligence and their aggressiveness to see that need and want to do something about it. And to the community for stepping up to the plate to say hey, one Valdosta, one Lowndes, we’re making it happen,” Flanders said.

Michael Smith also thanks the community for their time and their effort. He says if it wasn’t for community donors, they would have never surpassed a million dollars to help non-profits in the community.