• 73°

United Way East TN Highlands kicks off 2020 Annual Giving Campaign

The new United Way of East TN Highlands kicked off their 2020 Annual Giving Campaign on Thursday.
The new United Way is made up of what was the Washington County United Way and Carter/Johnson United Way. This is their first campaign since uniting.
As part of the campaign kickoff, the newly-united organization donated $2,500 to each of the school systems in their service area. This includes Johnson County Schools, Carter County Schools, Elizabethton City Schools, Washington County Schools and Johnson City Schools. The goal for these donations were to lessen burdens brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
“It can be used to help with digital divide, buy school supplies, buy clothing or shoes, just whatever need the school system sees,” explained Crystal Carter, Director of Community Impact.
The last check presentation took place Thursday evening at the Elizabethton High School Cyclone football field. 
“This was the last check presentation, and we wanted to do it here in Elizabethton so that, one, we can assure people that just because we are teamed up with a larger county and cities does not mean we are forgotten here, and two, the Coaches Witten,” she said. 
“They do a lot of great work, they’re boots on the ground and do a lot of fundraising things and helping in the community. They do it really silently. You never really know they’ve been there. You never really know they’ve helped out.”
Carter explained that her work behind the scenes has allowed her to see all the work the Witten brothers are doing with helping children and the community.
“We wanted to have two really great boots on the ground representatives, and we couldn’t think of anything better than the Witten brothers,” she said. “They’re not the ones you typically hear about getting the headlines, they’re the ones doing boots on the ground. United Way is a lot like that too.”
Richard Vanhuss, director of Elizabethton City Schools, spoke on the donation. 
“We are very appreciative of United Way. They’ve been a great partner of the school for many years and we enjoy that partnership,” he said. “They’ve supported us in many different ways. They’ve helped in a variety of ways that we sometimes just don’t have the funding to do, so we greatly appreciate all they do for us.”’
Throughout the day on Thursday, a mix of virtual and in-person events were also held as part of the kickoff. In partnership with WJHL, the United Way shared stories throughout the day of the impact last year’s campaign had on the community.
“We are very grateful to WJHL. They gave us this wonderful opportunity to be on different newscasts and television shows that they host, highlighting what the United Way does,” Carter said. “We’re doing everything differently now. We couldn’t have lunch with board members and supporters to share our mission, but we still wanted to do something exciting and fun still. I think we succeeded in that.”
For more information on United Way East TN Highlands, go to https://unitedwayetnh.org/.