Published On: September 19, 2023772 words4 min read

Bryan County, GA – United Way of the Coastal Empire – Bryan County hosted a county-wide Campaign Kickoff event on September 14, 2023, at Heartwood in Richmond Hill. The event marked the official start of the 2023 Campaign in Bryan County, featuring networking and a presentation from United Way leadership, which included the results of the Pacesetter campaigns and the inaugural Jimmy Burnsed Community Spirit Award.

During the event, Jay Wilson, United Way of the Coastal Empire’s 2023 Campaign Chair and International Paper Savannah Mill Manager, shared this year’s regional campaign theme – “We’re on a roll. Let’s get to work.”

“United Way is on a roll, making an even bigger impact in this region than ever before,” said Wilson. “The need for the work of United Way and its funded nonprofit partners in the months and years ahead will only increase because while the Coastal Empire is “on a roll” with unprecedented economic development, business investment, and job creation, there will continue to be growing pains and challenges in areas like housing, childcare, literacy, workforce training, and financial skills.”

With Bryan County being one of the fastest-growing counties in the state, Bryan County Campaign Chair Kathryn Downs is asking everyone to roll up their sleeves and get to work to improve lives in the community.

“I have seen first-hand how United Way improves lives,” said Downs. “Just last year, over four thousand of our friends and neighbors in Bryan County were assisted by United Way. It is going to take all of us working together to meet the demands of our region, and we all have important roles to play.”

Downs also announced regional Pacesetter campaign results totaling $437,269, which is an increase of 28% over last year’s Pacesetter campaigns. PAC Fiber in Bryan County is one of 19 Pacesetters businesses across the region that agreed to kickstart the Campaign by running early and ambitious employee-giving campaigns. PAC Fiber has been a Pacesetter for decades and a long-time United Way supporter.

“We are grateful for PAC Fiber and the many Bryan County businesses that support United Way each year,” says Jordan Urban, United Way Bryan County Advisory Chair. “We saw the important role United Way played when the tornado hit our community just 17 months ago and the hope it brings to many in our community every day by providing a safety net for the most vulnerable and pathways for upward mobility to help everyone thrive.”

The county-wide kickoff followed the organization’s traditional region-wide Kickoff event, which took place on Sept. 7, 2023, in Savannah. This year, Effingham and Liberty counties also host county-wide Kickoff events as well.

Jimmy Burnsed Community Spirit Award

United Way Board of Directors member, Catherine Grant, presented the inaugural Jimmy Burnsed Community Spirit Award to a true servant leader and Bryan County champion– Jimmy Burnsed.

“It’s fitting that on United Way of the Coastal Empire’s 85th year of service, we honor a man who has been a supporter of United Way for more than half a century and played a vital part in bringing United Way to Bryan County,” says Brianne Yontz, United Way Bryan County Area Director. “We’re honored to name this award after Jimmy and will continue to honor a fellow Bryan County resident who embodies his community spirit each year.”

“I believe being a supporter and contributor to the United Way is the right thing to do to reach those in need in our communities,” said Burnsed. “In the book of Proverbs is a verse that we should take note of and heed. Proverbs 21:13 states, “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.” The need is great, and I hope you will support the campaign.”

About United Way of the Coastal Empire

The mission of United Way of the Coastal Empire is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities. United Way conducts an annual fundraising campaign and invests Community Fund dollars in nonprofit programs and services that provide a safety net for the most vulnerable and pathways for upward mobility to help everyone in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties thrive. United Way is a volunteer-driven organization that involves hundreds of community leaders, professionals, and other volunteers in every aspect of our business, including fundraising, marketing, and funding decisions, to ensure that donors’ donations are truly making a difference. Thanks to income from the Herschel V. Jenkins Trust Fund and other revenue, which covers much of the administrative and fundraising costs of the organization, more donor contributions are used in service to the community. For more information, please visit

Leave your comment

Related posts