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Group tops goal, debuts new event
United Way campaign totals more than $1.6M
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Melissa Corliss, left, and Ruth Goode catch up during the United Way banquet Thursday at the Forsyth Conference Center. - photo by Autumn McBride

On the Net

For more information on United Way of Forsyth County, visit www.unitedwayforsyth.com.

Leaders of the United Way of Forsyth County took a more casual approach to the 2011 campaign celebration.

For many years, the event had been a formal breakfast. This year, however, it was held in the evening and featured heavy hors d’oeuvres.

The program was also much shorter, mainly recognizing the top 10 corporate contributions of the campaign. In years past, the program included a lengthy awards presentation and several speeches.

Ruth Goode, executive director, said she and board members wanted to change the format of the event to be “more laid back” to give board members the chance to “mingle and talk” to attendees.

“We can still get our message across and celebrate our success while having a good time,” Goode said.

Among the successes celebrated Thursday night at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center was the organization exceeding the goal for the yearly fundraising campaign.

Penny Penn, 2011 president of the board, said the campaign raised more than $1.6 million, while the goal was about $1.35 million.

Penn also recognized the top 10 corporate campaigns.

“Dave Letterman has his Top 10,” Penn said. “Our 10 reasons to celebrate are our top 10 campaigns.”

UPS was the No. 1 contributor with about $380,000. The other top nine were Publix, PCL Industrial Construction Co., Forsyth County Schools, AT&T, Northside Hospital-Forsyth, Kroger, Tyson Foods Inc., Bank of America and Control Southern.

Penn also paid tribute to two retiring board members, Kathy Jolly and Laura McClure, who received awards for their service.

Skip Putnam was presented a plaque for his service as 2010 board president.

Penn thanked everyone for “their generosity and time put in” to help “improve the lives of Forsyth County citizens.”

In line with the more streamlined event, rather than a presentation highlighting all of United Way’s achievements in 2010, small booklets were placed on each table top for attendees to read at their leisure.

A slideshow ran continuously throughout the evening, showing some of those achievements and contributions of other campaigns and individuals besides the top 10.

Guests seemed to enjoy the new format.

“It’s a good time for folks to catch up with each other,” Goode said.

McClure, the outgoing board member, agreed.

“This is a great way to network and get back in touch with people you maybe haven’t seen in a while,” she said.