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United Way kicks off annual campaign
United Way kicks off annual campaign

By Bobby Allen Roach
Star Tribune Staff Writer

United Way of Danville-Pittsylvania County held a kickoff event to begin its annual fundraising campaign at Danville Community Market on Sept. 24.

This year’s campaign goal is $700,000, but United Way President and CEO Philip A. Haley hopes to increase that goal to $1 million in the coming years.

“I have lofty goals for future years,” Haley said.

Haley joined United Way in Nov. 2014.

According to Haley, the local United Way raised more than $1 million as recently as 2005, but due to the economic downturn shortly after that time, the nonprofit organization suffered and campaign results in subsequent years illustrated those challenges.

“My job is to rejuvenate that and get it growing again,” Haley said.      

Haley, a Danville native, returned to the area about a year-and-a-half ago after spending 25 years in Chicago.

Each year, United Way holds Pacesetter campaigns leading up to the formal kickoff event to engage local businesses and establish initial buy-in that is critical to the success of the overall campaign.

Typically, one person will coordinate the fundraising campaign, but Board Chair Dr. Julie Brown said that this year, the entire Board is stepping up to lead the effort.

“Philip is relatively new to the community, so we thought this would be a good opportunity for the Board to become more engaged in the campaign because we recognize that for a strong United Way, we need a strong campaign and for the Board to take responsibility for that this year.  We thought it would set the stage or expectation that our Board is engaged.  We believe in United Way.  We think a strong United Way campaign is good for the community,” Brown said.

Traci Petty, Director of Community Impact and Operations, said that the Pacesetter campaign brought in $133,000.

“We exceeded what we did last year, so we are happy,” Petty said.   

According to Petty, the funding process is about to change.

“What we are trying to do is teach partners how to collaborate with each other and share resources and get different funding opportunities that they may not have otherwise known about,” Petty said.

Organizations will be able to apply for money to complete collaborative projects in an effort to build synergy among local nonprofits.

“We will come up with focus areas.  That way, organizations will know what our focus areas are and what we’re looking to accomplish and they’ll be able to collaborate and work together and share resources,” Petty said.      

Petty said that the local United Way has undergone changes in the last year.

“Since [Haley] has come on board, we have felt the difference.  His positive energy, his belief in what he’s doing and his ability to talk to people and really communicate to people what we are trying to do makes all the difference,” Petty said.

The organization is set up on Get Connected, a website where interested individuals can sign up to volunteer their time and talents to the organization.

United Way serves the community through “advancing the common good,” according to

The organization accomplishes this through creating engagement opportunities in the community focused on three key areas: education, health and income.

To volunteer or make a donation to United Way of Danville-Pittsylvania County, call 434-792-3700 or visit

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