The United Way of Harrison County celebrated its amazing fund-raising success as it also paid tribute to one of its own. At the agency’s 2016 annual meeting and awards dinner Feb. 25, the nonprofit group
officially wrapped up its 2015/2016 campaign–”Be a Lifesaver”–with $885,000 raised to support many needs throughout the community.
The amount is the most the agency has ever raised in one year.
At the Bridgeport Conference Center, the agency’s board, staff and individual and corporate contributors, along with representatives from its United Way-funded agencies, learned the good news and celebrated together.
Marie Battles, who was Executive Director at the time of the meeting and has since retired, was thrilled with the campaign’s milestone numbers this year. She just wrapped up her 15 years with the agency and her 15th campaign.
“It’s the most successful campaign we’ve had to date!” she exclaimed.
Battles stated they attribute the successful campaign and the event to their hardworking volunteers, individual and corporate donors and to the agency’s many special events they had throughout the year, such as golf tournaments and even a hot wings eating contest. She said all things combined to “really take them over the top.”
What a wonderful way to also wrap up many successful years serving the organization, too.Battles was honored at the event for her service to the agency.
“The past 15 years have given me the opportunity to work with 15 of our community’s best, who worked selflessly to meet each year’s annual goal,” Battles stated. “The campaign chairs literally took a year out of their lives to insure the necessary funds were raised for the funded organizations. There are hundreds of additional volunteers working, many times behind the scenes for the greater good. I feel blessed to have been a part of it.”
Tina Kopp, the former Assistant Director of the agency, will be Battles’ replacement as Executive Director.
Kopp credits Battles with much of her career success. She reports that Battles, when she was the Director of CrissCross, hired Kopp for her very first job.
“Marie has been my mentor for a lot of years,” Kopp said. “And I’m very thankful to have a person like Marie that I’ve been able to learn from.”
Kopp stated that her years as Assistant Director at the United Way and working for agencies supported by United Way combine to make her ready for her new role now.
“I believe that my experiences with two United Way agencies have provided me with the experience needed to be Director of the United Way,” Kopp said.
She added with enthusiasm, “I’m very honored to have the position of Executive Director of the United Way of Harrison County.”
Kopp reports the agency just added a new position to the staff in an effort to position the agency to be even more proactive in meeting the needs of the community.
Brad Riffee, a Marion County resident who is a former English-as-a-second-language instructor at Fairmont State University, is the new community impact director.
“We want to have community conversations,” Kopp stated. “And that will be a lot of what Brad will be doing in order to know what their needs are. The best way to find that out is to ask.”
Riffee said he’s glad to have that opportunity. “I’m grateful to be able give back to the community.”
He added that he’s looking forward to working with volunteers and those who give generously to the United Way. “It’s our donors who are the heart and soul [of the agency]. Without their help, we wouldn’t have the strong community we have today,” Riffee said.
At the meeting, board members were also approved as well as officers who will serve in the 2016 calendar year.
Battles said they added a lot of young, new blood on the board that will be an asset in moving the agency forward.
“They will bring a new perspective with new ideas and new ways of thinking,” she stated. “It’s really good for the organization.”
For more details, visit www.unitedwayhcwv.org.