United Way of the Coastal Empire Holds Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon


L-R): Award Winners Kelly Crosby, Dale Critz, Sr., and Kesha Gibson-Carter
L-R): Award Winners Kelly Crosby, Dale Critz, Sr., and Kesha Gibson-Carter

United Way of the Coastal Empire gave thanks to organizations, businesses and individuals for their outstanding support, honored volunteers and inducted new officers at its Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon. Over 400 people attended the event held on Thursday, March 26th at the Westin Savannah Harbor.

Outgoing Board Chair Michael Traynor, publisher of the Savannah Morning News, expressed gratitude to volunteers for their dedicated service to the community through United Way and proudly shared the work the organization has done throughout the past year. Some highlights of United Way’s achievements include:

• Raised nearly $9 million, ( exceeding 2014 campaign goal

• Invested in nearly 100 programs across 54 non-profit organizations in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and

Liberty counties

• Mobilized 10,750 volunteers, which gave over 55,000 hours of service through United Way HandsOn Savannah

As a volunteer driven organization,

United Way of the Coastal Empire is thankful for all of its volunteers. From becoming a donor to giving their time and talent, volunteers are the foundation of the United Way. During the event, President and CEO Gregg Schroeder presented the Spirit of Community Awards to three extraordinary individuals: Dale Critz, Sr. of Critz, Inc. for his spirit of giving, Kesha Gibson-Carter of Rape Crisis of the Coastal Empire for her spirit of advocating and Kelly Crosby of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System for her spirit of volunteering. The Spirit of Community Award is United Way’s highest honor, recognizing an individual, company or organization for exceptional philanthropic commitment to the United Way and the community.

The business portion of the Annual Meeting continued with the election of eight community leaders to serve on the Board of Directors, as well as its slate of executive committee members for 2015.

The new board members are: Scott Dempsey, WTOC-TV; Steve Green, Green Properties; Ben Jones, Thomas & Hutton; Ken Rabitsch, Sea Island Bank; Dr. Richard Schulze, Schulze Eye Centers; Terry Tuggle, Caesarstone; Brianne Yontz, Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce; and Zeke Zimmerman, 100 Black Men.

The 2015 board executive committee is: Board Chair, Pratt Summers, Colonial Group; Board Vice Chair, Jenny Gentry, Wells Fargo; Immediate Past Board Chair, Michael Traynor, Savannah Morning News; Corporate Secretary, Frank Macgill, HunterMaclean; Treasurer And Finance Chair, Cindy Robinett, Seacrest Partners; Campaign Chair, Toby Moreau, BB&T; Community Investments Chair, Steve Pound, St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System; Marketing Chair, Stacy Jennings, Savannah Morning News. At large members include: Dr. Cheryl Dozier, Savannah State University; Terry Enoch, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System; Dale Holloway, Georgia Power; Cliff Pyron, Georgia Ports Authority.

Michael Traynor concluded his portion of the program by introducing Pratt Summers, assistant vice president of Operations for Colonial Group, as incoming United Way Board Chair. Summers has been involved with United Way of the Coastal Empire since 2009 serving on the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors.

The meeting ended with the introduction of the 2015 Campaign Chair, Toby Moreau, market president for BB&T. The upcoming fall campaign will showcase Moreau and the United Way volunteers who will help raise funds during the 2015 campaign.

United Way of the Coastal Empire thanks community volunteers – Steve Allison, Interfaith Hospitality Network After Care Group and WJCL ABC – who helped during the event. Special thanks to Michael Solomon of Sun- Trust Bank, Savannah who emceed the event with great enthusiasm and energy.

For more information about United Way of the Coastal Empire, visit www.uwce.org.


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