As he stood at the podium at the R. Michael Fryer Conference Center Friday morning, Joseph Pilla reflected on the recently completed 2011 Tamaqua Area United Way campaign.
"As I drove over here, I thought about all the in-betweens with this campaign, with the companies, volunteers, administrators and board members," said Pilla, the Tamaqua Area campaign chairman, as he spoke at the Schuylkill United Way Appreciation Breakfast, held at the Penn State Schuylkill Campus, Schuylkill Haven.
The "in-betweens" that occurred from the campaign's kickoff and its completion resulted in the Tamaqua Area drive receiving $146,000 in pledges, which was 122 percent of its goal of $120,000.
The Schuylkill County General Campaign, chaired by Eric Hollen, raised $940,000 of its $1,000,001 goal during the 2011 "EveryONE Matters" United Way drive.
"In a time of 9.6 unemployment in the county, we were still able to raise close to a million dollars," said Hollen, who paraphrased a quote he attributed to Mao Tse Tung when he added, "in times of difficulty, you should not lose sight of your achievements."
"In our 75 years, this has been our fifth most successful campaign, and during this tough economic climate, it is something we can be very proud of," said Kelly Malone, executive director of the Schuylkill United Way. "We are thankful of everything we have received and we view this campaign as very successful."
Of the Schuylkill total, 31 percent came from 321 Pacesetters, each of whom pledged $500 or more. The Pacesetters' total of $292,292 surpassed what was accomplished last year.
"We had nine Pacesetters less, but more money," noted Jack Bertolet of the Pacesetters Club.
For the Tamaqua campaign, the pledge totals by division were as follows: special gifts, $49,414; industrial, $79,226; business, $7,094; borough, $1,879; clubs, $1,305; state employees, $500; schools, $2,051; clergy, $100; and townships and residential, $4,376.
Air Products and Chemicals, Hometown, received the Special Event Achievement Award for raising $11,453 through two golf tournaments and a bowling tournament. Charles Ladd IV and Tom Cara accepted the award on behalf of Air Products.
The annual Houser Award, named after longtime Schuylkill United Way Executive Director Clare Houser, is given to the business with the highest contribution. This year's winner was Wegmans Retail Center, which raised $71,001 for the campaign.
The North Schuylkill School District had a 2,012- percent increase in its contributions this year, pledging $8,408, which is $7,992 more than last year.
For the Tamaqua Division, the Tamaqua Area School District increased its giving by 147 percent this year and received a certificate of excellence for its efforts.
Boyer's Food Markets, BG Value Markets and McDonald's were recognized for their dedication to the campaign through the promotion and sales of Schuylkill United Way icons at their locations, which raised over $3,800.
Pilla and Hollen received the Chairmen Awards for their hard work in the campaign, and four retiring board members were recognized: Dominic Sylvester, Randy Kalce, Greg McElvaney and Charles Ladd IV.
A new award was established this year, the Billie Payne Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to its namesake, Mrs. Billie Payne, for her over 40 years of work on behalf of the Schuylkill United Way and the community. The Payne Award will be presented on an annual basis.
The breakfast concluded with the Schuylkill United Way 75th Anniversary video, produced by Ed Redding of R&D Communications and sponsored through a grant from PPL.
Funds raised through the campaign benefit the 15 Schuylkill United Way member agencies, including the American Red Cross, Avenues (formerly United Cerebral Palsy), Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Schuylkill County, Boy Scouts of America Hawk Mountain Council, Child Development, Inc., Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pa., The Salvation Army Pottsville and Tamaqua Corps, SARCC (Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center), Schuylkill County Society for Crippled Children, Schuylkill Wellness Services, Schuylkill Women in Crisis, Schuylkill YMCA, Tamaqua Area Meals on Wheels, and the Tamaqua YMCA.
Patrick Kane will serve as the 2012 General Campaign Chairman, and Susan Fegley of Air Products will chair the Tamaqua area Campaign. Both were assistant chairs for their respective campaigns this year.