Marking 75 years, United Way launches new campaign

The United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore held its 75th Anniversary Campaign Kickoff luncheon this week to launch the 2019-2020 campaign.

Hosted by Salisbury University, the event brought together over 230 business and community leaders to hear about the impact that UWLES has made over the last 75 years, and how they plan to continue.  

Led by Roger Follebout of Peninsula Regional Medical Center as the Master of Ceremonies, the event began with a warm welcome from Dr. Charles Wight, President of Salisbury University along with the presentations of colors by Salisbury University’s ROTC.

After lunch, Beth Reid, Chairperson of United Way’s Board of Directors introduced the Co-Chairs for the 75th Anniversary Campaign: Marty Neat of First Shore Federal and Chris Perdue of Perdue Farms, and recognized the 75th Anniversary sponsor, Perdue Farms, and the Campaign Sponsors Avery Hall Insurance, PNC Bank and First Shore Federal. 

Neat talked about the history of our local United Way, starting with the agency’s founding as the Community Chest of Wicomico County in 1944, and also shared about his personal involvement with UWLES since the early 1980s.

The program then featured speakers from the audience who shared about United Way’s impact throughout the Eastern Shore, as well as perspective from United Way Worldwide’s Vice President of Corporate Relations Chris Preston, who shared how United Way is a global movement with local impact focused on meeting local needs with local solutions.

Additional speakers included: Denise Eberspeaker, Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, Heather Mahler, Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor, Mary Handley, Delmarva Community Services, Wynnette Curtis and Bobbi Jo Peck, Wicomico Public Libraries, Linda Hutchinson, UWLES Donor and WOMEN UNITED Volunteer, Kevin Hayes, Avery Hall Insurance Group and Ashley Clevenger, Bank of Delmarva.  Anniversary Co-Chair Chris Perdue closed the program by sharing about Perdue’s legacy of community support and encouraged attendees to be part of the next 75 years of impact with UWLES. 

The agency also unveiled a historical exhibit, highlighting how UWLES has grown and expanded its impact over the decades.

This exhibit will travel throughout the regional for community members to enjoy all year long, and was sponsored by a grant from Maryland Humanities.

“We are thrilled to share our United Way’s history with the community,” said Pam Gregory, United Way President and CEO. “This is a local organization founded by local visionaries, and we have been 100 percent locally focused since 1944. We are here because of, and in service to, our Lower Shore community and this 75th celebratory year is something we want to share with all of our neighbors.” 

Community organizations who are interested in featuring the United Way’s historical exhibit should contact Claire Otterbein at Claire@uwles.org. 

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