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United Way Kicks Off 2011 Fundraising Campaign With $20.5 Million Goal, Targeting a 3.4 Percent Increase

Belk Inc. Partners with United Way to Energize Campaign Launch with ‘Get Cool 4 School’ Uniform Donation

Donation of 2,000 New Uniforms – a $78,000 In-Kind Donation – Will Go to Students Helped by A Child’s Place and Communities In Schools

Sep 9, 2011

Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 9, 2011 – United Way of Central Carolinas officially launched its 2011 fundraising campaign today at Montclaire Elementary School, one of six CMS schools that will benefit from a new partnership between Belk and United Way.  At the event, United Way announced a campaign target of $20.5 million in local donations, an increase of 3.4 percent.


Belk donated over 2,000 new school uniforms that will be distributed via two United Way partner agencies: A Child’s Place, which provides resources for students who are homeless or in transition, and Communities In Schools, which offers resources and support to help at-risk students achieve graduation and reach their fullest potential.


Quick Facts

  • 2011 United Way campaign goal – $20.5 million, a 3.4 percent increase
    • Goal tracks only donations that stay local (Community Care Fund and designations to UWCC’s partner agencies)
  • 2,000 new school uniforms for at-risk children attending one of six CMS Title I elementary schools where uniforms are required:
    • Ashley Park Academy
    • Bruns Academy
    • Druid Hills Academy
    • Montclaire Elementary
    • Thomasboro Academy
    • Walter G. Byers Academy
      • In CMS, more than 50 schools require uniforms
  • $78,000 ­– approximate value of the new apparel donated by Belk
  • At those six schools, uniforms will be distributed to students participating in United Way-funded programs at A Child’s Place and Communities In Schools
    • Additional new uniforms are needed; donors wishing to contribute may purchase uniforms at Belk stores or online at and ship them to United Way, or may deliver them in person to United Way, A Child’s Place or Communities In Schools




Named GET COOL 4 SCHOOL, the uniform drive was conceived by United Way Young Leaders, a group of volunteerism-minded young professionals (age 40 and under) who are passionate about United Way.


“We believe this program is a natural fit for Belk and look forward to expanding it in the years ahead,” said Ralph Pitts, executive vice president and general counsel for Belk Inc.  “When we became aware of the large number of children in CMS who could not afford to purchase school uniforms, we wanted to respond in a meaningful way.”


The partnership is planned as a multiyear initiative, with a higher-profile push next year that will occur in additional cities across Belk’s footprint, enabling customers to donate in Belk stores and helping school systems beyond CMS.


“We’re so grateful for Belk to step up and meet this huge need for our young students,” said Jane McIntyre, executive director of United Way of Central Carolinas.  “We’re also very appreciative of Belk’s longstanding support of United Way.  This is an absolutely critical year for our partner agencies and the thousands they serve – both the agencies and their clients have exhausted every possible resource.  We must do better for our neighbors in need.”


United Way’s recent Community Needs Assessment identified education as one of this region’s most pressing needs.  While “education” in that context is broader than aiding vulnerable children in public school, expanding the work of two successful partner agencies in a tangible way is a strong place to start.


“When you face the fact that one in every five local children lives in poverty, we cannot solve that with our 2011 campaign,” said McIntyre.  “But today alone, we’ve helped thousands of children eliminate one potential roadblock to academic success.  If we reach our fundraising goal, we can impact thousands more, whether that’s by helping students graduate, providing new job skills for their parents, giving them a safe place to sleep, or addressing so many other related challenges.”


United Way of Central Carolinas has conducted other local launch events this month – in Union County, more than 1,000 volunteers participated in a “Day of Caring” on Sept. 3, while donors in Cabarrus County have been active in a “Season of Caring” all this week, concluding today.


United Way’s fundraising is a year-round operation, with some companies electing to run campaigns in the spring, while others launched their 2011 campaigns weeks ago.  But the peak fundraising season for most companies occurs between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.


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About United Way of Central Carolinas

United Way of Central Carolinas focuses on three vital areas: Children & Youth; Housing & Stability; and Health & Mental Health.  Through its 90 partner health and human services agencies, United Way creates long-lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems, working in Anson, Cabarrus, Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Mooresville/Lake Norman and Union.  To get help, or learn how you can help, call United Way’s 211 hotline, or for more details, please visit