Q: Name and current title?
A. Kristi Cox, director of United Way of the Coastal Empire, Bryan County Office
Q: What sets United Way apart from other organizations?
A: 100 percent of your donation helps people in our four-county area (Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties) thanks to the Herschel V. Jenkins Trust and other revenue, which typically exceeds all administrative and fundraising costs. Donations designated specifically to Bryan County stay local and help Bryan County residents.
Q: How has Byron Atkinson been an asset to the United Way in Bryan County?
A: When Tonya and I came to work at United Way in the summer of 2012, Byron came into the office to inquire about volunteer opportunities and he became our first official Advisory Board member. Since that time, he has been extremely instrumental in helping us achieve every goal, monetarily and otherwise, we have set for the Bryan County office. He is a great supporter and encourager.
Q: How have you seen his role evolve since his involvement?
A: Byron has continued to support, encourage, and advocate for United Way since the first day he came into the office, seeking information about the services that are provided in Bryan County. Over the years, he has focused tirelessly on campaigns, asking friends and business contacts for donations. He understands the importance of raising the dollars that will, in turn, provide resources to Bryan County residents that need a "hand up" and he always gives 110 percent to every task. He has served in various volunteer positions and has done everything from serving as our "runner" while bringing items from the Savannah office to the Bryan County office, to being the Bryan County representative at the UWCE Board of Directors monthly meeting. He has served as the Bryan County Advisory chair that leads the Bryan County "team." He has helped with the allocation process and oversight of the local programs. He has helped plan and organize the Campaign Kickoff events held at the Richmond Hill City Center each year. That list of duties, alone, shows his dedication and passion for doing whatever "job" needs to be done to accomplish the overall goal of UWCE-Bryan. He, along with his awesome wife, Karin, are amazing ambassadors for United Way; they are both compassionate, generous, friendly, humble, caring and energetic individuals that embrace the mission of United Way and could be described as the UW "dynamic duo." We are extremely blessed and fortunate to have this husband and wife on our team and that day, back in 2012, when Byron came through the door, was truly one of the best days ever for United Way!
Q: As the 2016 campaign closes, what are your hopes for the future of United Way here in Bryan County?
A: By next week, we are hoping to meet our 2016 goal of $150,000, which was an aggressive number after having a goal of $83,000 last year, but realize that families and businesses were affected by Hurricane Matthew and it, understandably, may impact our overall campaign. I have always said, the final number is something we strive for, but the real importance comes from raising enough to cover the needs we have in Bryan County. I don’t ever want to be in the position of having to tell someone that we don’t have the funds to help cover their hardship. Long term, I would like more people to learn about the mission of United Way and the impact United Way’s funded agencies have on our community members.
Q: How can Bryan County residents get involved in the efforts of United Way?
A: Residents interested in becoming partners can do so through giving, advocating and volunteering. Giving; every donation, no matter how small, will help impact someone’s life by providing a "hand up." Advocating; sharing about United Way helps spread the good news about the services provided. And volunteering brings community members together while giving back to Bryan County. Anyone interested can contact us at (912) 459-4111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.