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Non-Profit Organizations

April 5 - United Way of the Costal Empire Highlights 2018 Accomplishments, Sets New Beginning for 2019

Category: Non-Profit Organizations

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

April 5, 2019 - United Way of the Coastal Empire celebrated the local impact made possible by the successful $8.4 million fundraising campaign in 2018 led by Campaign Chair Larry Silberman. Outgoing Board Chair Steve Pound, board members, and volunteers whose efforts made the campaign and work of the United Way possible over the past year were recognized and new board members honored. More than 300 people attended the Annual Meeting & Awards luncheon held on Thursday, April 4th at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa. The event was sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.

“It’s certainly been an exciting year for United Way of the Coastal Empire, and we’re excited to celebrate our many accomplishments, as well as share our visions for carrying out the United Way mission in this next year,” said Steve Pound, outgoing board chair of United Way of the Coastal Empire.  “Most importantly, we are grateful for the dedication and service of so many amazing local individuals and organizations who we rely upon so much in making our accomplishments possible, and who every day inspire others in our community to better the lives of our neighbors.”

Pound gave a recap of the organization’s accomplishments over the last year which included:

  • $8.4 million raised, including $3.6 million for United Way Community Fund grants to 92 programs and services across 58 nonprofits in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty Counties.

  • Answered 18,500 inquiries for assistance from local citizens in need of help through United Way 2-1-1 call center.  United Way 2-1-1 is a free, confidential helpline and one of our community’s most valuable resources.

  • Provided local residents in Bryan, Effingham, and Liberty Counties with access to emergency relief, food, transportation, and financial assistance by filling in gaps in the local health and human services. Last year, United Way dispersed fresh produce, meat, and pantry stock items to over 3,500 households. United Way’s Read Across Liberty distributed more than 2,500 books to children to promoted literacy.

  • Mobilized nearly 2,500 volunteers to feed the hungry, read to children, renovate homes and building, and assemble playgrounds through United Way Volunteers. Together, volunteers gave 12,266 hours to improve lives in our own backyard.

The business portion of the Annual Meeting continued with the election of 13 new community leaders to serve on the Board of Directors, as well as its slate of executive committee members for 2019.  

The new board members are: Tripp Addison, Georgia Southern University; Nathan Benson, Chatham County; Katrina Bostick, Family Promise of Greater Savannah; Dan Flaxer, WSAV-TV; Tyler Groesser, Memorial Health; Drew Hunt, Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce; Stephanie Jones-Heath, Diversity Health Center; Chief Roy Minter, Savannah Police Department; Jeff O’Conner, First Citizens Bank; Tonya Poole, JCB; Pastor Ricky Temple, Overcoming by Faith Ministries; Aaron Wilborn, Dick Broadcasting; and Jay Wilson, International Paper.

The 2019 board executive committee is:

  • BOARD CHAIR: Toby Moreau, Community Volunteer

  • BOARD VICE CHAIR: Larry Silbermann, WTOC-TV

  • IMMEDIATE PAST BOARD CHAIR: Steve Pound, St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System

  • SECRETARY: Mark Bennett, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

  • TREASURER & FINANCE CHAIR: Jeff Joyner, SunTrust Bank

  • CAMPAIGN CHAIR: Ken Rabitsch, Synovus





    • Gail Eubanks, Savannah Technical College

    • Michael Kaigler, Chatham County

    • Ryan Sewell, Sterling Seacrest Platinum Partners

    • Taffanye Young, City of Savannah

Pound bestowed the role of United Way’s Chairman of the Board to Toby Moreau, retired BB&T’s market president for the Savannah area.  As Moreau’s first official role, he introduced 2019 Campaign Chair Ken Rabitsch, Savannah City President of Synovus, who will be leading the United Way fundraising campaign.

During the event, United Way presented the Spirit of Philanthropy Award to Craig Harney of WTOC-TV.  Harney was honored for his exceptional philanthropic lifetime commitment to giving, advocating, and volunteering for the United Way and through-out the community.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors and was on the campaign cabinet for a number of years. He led the United Way marketing efforts in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2018 through which he, not only helped generate enthusiasm for our annual campaigns and events, but also helped build awareness of the organization and its work.  

The meeting ended with Deb Thompson, President and CEO of United Way of the Coastal Empire, sharing the organization’s vision into the future. “We look forward to continuing to build upon the tremendous legacy of the United Way in our community, putting even greater focus on strengthening our collaboration with a wide variety of stakeholders, and providing resources and tools, as well as funding to help our nonprofits increase their capacity,” said Thompson.

For more information about United Way of the Coastal Empire, visit

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