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United Way plans to raise $1M

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United Way Annual Meeting

United Way of Bristol VA/TN executive director Lisa Cofer presents the Volunteer of the Year award to Steve Hawkins in February 2020.

BRISTOL, Tenn. — As the New Year approaches, the United Way of Bristol continues its annual fundraising campaign with an eye toward reaching a goal of $1 million.

As things stand now, the United Way has raised $874,087, putting the group $125,000 away from reaching its goal. Lisa Cofer, executive director of Bristol United Way, explained the role of United Way in the Bristol community and why the fundraising campaign is critical to the community.

“What we do is we look at where the gaps are in our community for health and human service needs and look at what programs we can either develop or what program we can pull together to meet those needs,” Cofer said. “We provide financial support to all 25 agencies (that are active in the region) and their programs to help continue to meet those needs.”

Every three years, the United Way of Bristol conducts a community needs assessment aimed at identifying the needs of the citizens of the Twin City. The results of the assessment allow the United Way to focus its fundraising efforts on supporting programs such as the Boys and Girls Club and Abuse Alternative, as well as initiatives through agencies such as the YMCA, YWCA and Frontier Health that help alleviate the economic and social pressures citizens of Bristol may face. The most recent assessment was conducted in 2020. In it, the community stressed the need for affordable, safe and accessible child care in the region. Because of this, Cofer emphasized this year’s extended its initial goal of $1 million by another $250,000 to create additional openings in childcare facilities.

“Almost every child care facility in our community is already full. They don’t have any slots available. So what we’ve done, we have reached out to our Alexis de Tocqueville donors and our leadership givers and others that have given us an additional gift on top of their campaign gift that is designated for child care … so that working folks can go back to work and have a safe place for their kids to go,” Cofer said.

COVID-19 has intensified the need for the United Way to provide support to the community still dealing with the aftershocks of the pandemic. Cofer said she is proud of the Bristol community and invites people to donate their time and money to assist their fellow residents in these hard times.

“We are very thankful to live in such a giving community,” she said. “It’s not about necessarily reaching our goal. It’s about being able to meet the needs, raising the funds that we need to do that, and so we are thankful for what people have already given and encourage them to help us to continue to meet those needs,” Cofer said. “The thing about United Way is that someone can give a gift, and it impacts all segments of the community, from infants, toddlers, children, school-aged kids to the elderly and all those in between. So people can write a check, make one gift and impact thousands of people right here in Bristol.”

The United Way serves the communities of both Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee.

The deadline for the fundraiser was initially set for early December but has been extended to late January due to COVID-19.

enn. – As the New Year approaches, the United Way of Bristol continues its annual fundraising campaign with an eye toward reaching a goal of $1 million.

As things stand now, the United Way has raised $874,087, putting the group $125,000 away from reaching its goal. Lisa Cofer, executive director of Bristol United Way, explained the role of United Way in the Bristol community and why the fundraising campaign is critical to the community.

"What we do is we look at where the gaps are in our community for health and human service needs and look at what programs we can either develop or what program we can pull together to meet those needs,” Cofer said. “We provide financial support to all 25 agencies (that are active in the region) and their programs to help continue to meet those needs."

Every three years, the United Way of Bristol conducts a community needs assessment aimed at identifying the needs of the citizens of the Twin City. The results of the assessment allow the United Way to focus its fundraising efforts on supporting programs such as the Boys and Girls Club and Abuse Alternative, as well as initiatives through agencies such as the YMCA, YWCA and Frontier Health that help alleviate the economic and social pressures citizens of Bristol may face. The most recent assessment was conducted in 2020. In it, the community stressed the need for affordable, safe, and accessible childcare in the region. Because of this, Cofer emphasized this year's extended its initial goal of $1 million by another $250,000 to create additional openings in childcare facilities.

"Almost every childcare facility in our community is already full. They don't have any slots available. So what we've done, we have reached out to our Alexis de Tocqueville donors and our leadership givers and others that have given us an additional gift on top of their campaign gift that is designated for childcare … so that working folks can go back to work and have a safe place for their kids to go," Cofer said.

COVID-19 has intensified the need for the United Way to provide support to the community still dealing with the aftershocks of the pandemic. Cofer said she is proud of the Bristol community and invites people to donate their time and money to assist their fellow residents in these hard times.

"We are very thankful to live in such a giving community,” she said. It's not about necessarily reaching our goal. It's about being able to meet the needs, raising the funds that we need to do that, and so we are thankful for what people have already given and encourage them to help us to continue to meet those needs," Cofer said. "The thing about United Way is that someone can give a gift, and it impacts all segments of the community, from infants, toddlers, children, school-aged kids to the elderly and all those in between. So people can write a check, make one gift and impact thousands of people right here in Bristol."

The United Way serves the communities of both Bristol, Virginia, and Bristol, Tennessee.

The deadline for the fundraiser was initially set for early December but has been extended to late January due to COVID-19.

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