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Pembroke Advanced Communication owners honored for giving
PAC united way

The United Way of the Coastal Empire’s Giving Award was presented to Pembroke Advanced Communication owners Jeanne Beardslee McCormick and Mary Anna Beardslee Hite, fourth and fifth from right,  in the above photo.

This family-owned business has a long history of financial support of United Way and is a Pacesetter for the campaign.

This year, the company provided a 150 percent match for their employee giving campaign and paid in full, upfront, “which magnified the impact of the company’s and employees’ generosity,” the United Way said.

 The honor was one of several Craig Harney Spirit of Philanthropy Awards presented during the United Way’s annual meeting Wednesday in Savannah. 

Also shown, from left, are United Way President and CEO Brynn Grant, Al Holzinger, winner of the Advocacy Award; and Volunteer Award winner Christina Beaver. At right is Mark Bennett, the 2022-2023 board chairman for the United Way of the Coastal Empire. 

The United Way raised more than $10.3 million during its fiscal year 2022-23 campaign, an 8 percent increase from last year.

 Among the news from 2022 from a Bryan County perspective was the establishment of the Bryan County Tornado Relief Fund, which raised and distributed more than $59,000 to help 42 affected families pay for insurance deductibles, transportation, temporary rental assistance, and other needs. That April 22 tornado prompted the United Way and area counties to sign an agreement on disaster relief fundraising and distribution.

Here is more from the United Way's press release:

United Way of the Coastal Empire announced today an impressive total of more than $10.3 million in and through the organization to support the community in Fiscal Year 2022-2023. This figure was at the heart of today’s celebratory Annual Meeting and reflects an 8% increase in workplace and individual giving over last year!

The breakdown reveals strong support from the public and private sectors. Coordinated Government Programs accounted for nearly $1 million. Sustaining Support from diverse sources such as the Herschel V. Jenkins Trust, and administrative income amounted to an additional $1.8 million dollars.

For the first time in the organization’s 85-year history, three corporate donors teamed up with their employees to donate more than half a million dollars each. These record-breaking donors include the people and companies of Gulfstream Aerospace, Georgia Ports Authority, and Colonial Group.

The Community Campaign, a direct result of workplace and individual giving, events, and grants, totaled $7.6 million.

This reporting of total dollars in and through United Way is the most transparent way to fully reflect the work of the organization.

Cindy Robinett of Sterling Seacrest Pritchard served as campaign chair for the successful 2022-2023 campaign. Robinett, who championed the Team United theme throughout the year-long campaign, said “This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I am forever grateful for everyone who stepped up to the plate this year to join Team United.”

Robinett thanked everyone involved in the campaign and added “Working together for the betterment of our community has been a true privilege, and I am so proud to have been part of such an incredible team, improving lives throughout our four-county region.”

The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort was the setting for the 500-person celebration, during which the organization saluted the generosity of the community, the scope of assistance United Way provides, the value of volunteers and donors who make it all possible, and the dedication of the board members and campaign leaders who keep moving the organization forward.

“The success of this year’s Community Campaign was truly gratifying. We are advancing United Way’s goals of providing a safety net for our community and pathways for upward mobility for all. And just as important as the financial impact are our volunteers, who put our mission into action,” said 2022-2023 Board Chair Mark Bennett.

2022-2023 Highlights

· Community Investment allocations reached their highest allocation total for partner nonprofits since the onset of the COVID pandemic.

· For the first time in United Way of the Coastal Empire’s history, three corporate donors, including Gulfstream Aerospace, Georgia Ports Authority, and Colonial Group, teamed up with their employees to donate more than half a million dollars each.

· Women Who Rule Campaign and event, chaired by Cecilia Tran Arango, set new records, including holding the largest event to date and raising a record-breaking net total of $63,000.

· 3rd Annual Shop & Dine weekend doubled the amount raised from the previous year, resulting in higher total giving to the Community Fund.

· Read United’s expansion into Chatham County, more than doubled the number of children reached throughout the four-county region.

· 3400 volunteers contributed more than 24,000 hours of their time, translating into an estimated value of nearly $750,000, encompassing not just community service hours but also in-kind donations. This represents a 44% increase in impact.

· United Way launched the Bryan County Tornado Relief Fund after the devastating tornado in North Bryan County, raising and distributing more than $59,000 to help 42 affected families pay for insurance deductibles, transportation, temporary rental assistance, and other needs.

· United Way formalized partnerships with county emergency management agencies in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties for disaster relief fundraising and distribution to help neighbors impacted by disasters.


The meeting also featured the presentation of the Craig Harney Spirit of Philanthropy Awards, a series of three awards that salute Giving, Advocating, and Volunteering. The awards presented were named in honor and memory of long-time United Way volunteer and supporter, Craig Harney.

The Giving Award went to Mary Anna Beardslee Hite and Jeanne Beardslee McCormick, co-owners of Pembroke Advance Communication – also known as PAC Fiber – in North Bryan County. This family-owned business has a long history of financial support of United Way and is a Pacesetter for the campaign. This year, the company provided a 150% match for their employee giving campaign and paid in full, upfront, which magnified the impact of the company’s and employees’ generosity.

Stepping forward to receive the Advocacy Award was Al Holzinger, the retired chief operating officer of the Institute of Internal Auditors. Holzinger devotes much of his time in retirement to

community service and has a long resume of serving among the volunteer leadership of United Way of the Coastal Empire. He is a longtime United Way volunteer and one of its greatest advocates. He chairs United Way’s Academic Success Investment panel for the Community Investment process and serves on United Way’s Finance Committee.

The Volunteer Award went to Christina Beaver, a retired administrative assistant with Hussey, Gay, Bell, who served more than 20 years as a United Way Community Investments volunteer. Since retiring, she continues to be a regular in the United Way office, volunteering her time to help with campaign prep, mailing, and any other needs.


Taking the gavel as United Way Board Chair in 2023-24 will be Ken Rabitsch, who is Savannah Market President with Synovus Bank and a long-time volunteer for the organization. He and other nominated Board officers were announced at the meeting. He introduced Jay Wilson, International Paper Savannah Mill Manager, as the chairman for the upcoming year-long campaign.

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