Brittany Burnett

United Way of CSRA celebrates impacting lives

(Featured photo is of Brittany Burnett at Tuesday’s United Way of the CSRA campaign celebration.)

 It was a day to celebrate — not only dollars raised, but of lives impacted.

On March 7, United Way of the CSRA officials announced they’d raised $2.2 million, providing an $8.2 million impact on 251,290 residents living in the 12 counties the organization serves. The announcement came during the 86th annual campaign celebration at the Marriott at the Convention Center.

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 “Your impact is huge,” said Brittany Burnett, president and CEO of the United Way of the CSRA. “Because of you last year, 130% more youth engaged in early children learning programs making sure they were prepared for the first day of kindergarten. Because of you, 32% more 5 to 9 year-olds received added literacy support. And because of you, 28% more families and children in our community received high quality health care.”

Appearing at Tuesday’s luncheon was Liz Tyger, Chip Calia and Ruthie Tyger-Calia.

Liz Tyger holds Ruthie Tyger-Calia at the United Way of the CSRA campaign celebration Tuesday. Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

Many people got to know the family’s story through the United Way campaign video.

“I’ve heard co-workers say ‘I don’t give to United Way because I don’t know one person that benefits from United Way,’” Tyger said in the video.

That’s when she points out that they know her, and her family has benefited from the United Way.

Her daughter Ruthie was born at 27 weeks through at emergency C-section in October 2019 and spent several weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

 Doctors said she might never speak.

Tyger found Apparo Academy, a nonprofit, faith based, specialized learning center.

 “There was no other childcare center that would take her,” said Tyger. “She had a g-tube  at the time as well as other developmental delays.”

But because of the care Ruthie received at Apparo Academy, “I was able to stay in the workforce,” Tyger said Tuesday’s luncheon. Ruthie has flourished under there and is able to say words as well as communicate in sign language.

 Tyger thanked supporters.

 “The dollars you give to the United Way directly impact Ruthie,” she said.

 Not only do individuals donate through their workplace campaigns, but they give of their time to the United Way and the agencies it funds.         

At the meeting each year, one community volunteer receives the Alvin W. Vogtle Award.

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Rick Pinnell has been a longtime volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Augusta, serving on its board for 40 years. Southern Nuclear Operating Co. presented a $2,000 check to the Boys and Girls Club in Pinnell’s honor.

Other volunteer efforts included the annual Day of Caring after the campaign kickoff in August 2022. Eager volunteers signed up for all the time slots, Burnett said. Also, they loaded five school buses with school supplies during the Stuff the Bus campaign and provided Christmas presents through the annual Empty Stocking Fund.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting the United Way recognized area businesses for their campaigns, giving superlative awards to ClubCar, SME CPA, Elliott Davis, Graphic Packaging International and Associated Credit Union.

 SouthState Bank received the Spirit of Community Award for its fundraising efforts.

The United Way of the CSRA supports 40 programs in 27 agencies across the area. To learn more, visit the website here.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at Subscribe to the newsletter here.

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