UA Crushes Annual United Way Campaign, Reports Largest Giving Total in Campaign History

By Diane Kennedy-Jackson
Publications Coordinator

Athletics Director Greg Byrne welcomed more than 100 people to the UA United Way campaign celebration Nov. 28, thanking all who worked on the campaign for their efforts in making 2018 another successful year. He gave a special nod to Intercollegiate Athletics, this year’s host, as well as to the Division of Community Affairs, the campus coordinators and all who contributed financially.

“United Way touches so many wonderful organizations,” said Byrne, “and that benefits our community, that benefits our youth, and people who really just need help to do things in their lives that a lot of us take for granted on a daily basis. It’s wonderful that the University supports the United Way. It’s wonderful what the United Way does for our community.”

Caroline Railsback, operations coordinator in the Office of Finance and UA United Way campaign treasurer, noted, “Normally we have a static presentation of the total, but this year we are going to have a moving presentation.”

Railsback was referring to the logistics of the event, which began in the North Field Suite at Bryant-Denny Stadium and culminated with a host of University and United Way representatives, UA pep band, cheerleaders and Big Al in the north end zone for the big reveal.

Utilizing the technology available at Bryant-Denny, Intercollegiate Athletics raised the bar for this annual event. As the presentation check was revealed, the final total was also displayed on the Jumbotron screens throughout the stadium. That check, for $469,483, provided a visual reminder of what happens when champions unite to crush a $385,000 campaign goal.

“Championship teams have quite a few characteristics,” said Marie Robbins, senior associate athletics director and co-chair of the UA United Way campaign, “Among them are great talent, working together and maximum effort, and you know we had all of those things here with the teams we put together.

“We were inspired from the beginning with our theme, Champions United: A Tradition of Caring, Serving, and Giving,” she continued. “We embraced that as a host division.”

Following the check reveal, a pre-recorded video thank you featuring Jackie Wuska, president and chief executive officer of United Way of West Alabama, and Jordan Plaster, 2018 campaign chair, was shared via Jumbotron while the names of the 26 United Way partner agencies appeared on the electronic ribbon that surrounds the field.

It was a fitting celebration for a campaign that realized the highest dollar giving total in UA’s United Way campaign history.

The Division of Community Affairs leads the annual UA United Way Campaign with a structure that provides opportunities for UA colleges and administrative units to host the campaign each year. The United Way of West Alabama has 26 partner agencies and plays a vital role in improving the quality of people’s lives. Partner agencies from Bibb, Fayette, Green, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties provide a variety of education, income-related, health and emergency-response programs to citizens throughout West Alabama.