United Way Rallies Support for Annual Campaign

Sep 20, 2011, 10:00 ET from United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

School event Sets Stage for Focus on Education, Income, Health

DALLAS, Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Way of Metropolitan Dallas today kicked off its 2011 Annual Fundraising Campaign by spotlighting youths building new futures through the Destination: Graduation program, focused on improving high school graduation rates.

More than 500 business and community leaders, education service providers, local legislators, and Destination: Graduation students and their families gathered today at West Mesquite High School in support of United Way's fundraising campaign.  A panel of current and former high school students discussed the impact Destination: Graduation has had on their lives. West Mesquite High School's marching band and cheerleaders added to the pep rally-style atmosphere.  

"The United Way is focused on priorities that make sense to the people of North Texas," said Randall L. Stephenson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AT&T.  "People want transparency; they want to know how their contributions are used.  People want inclusion; they want more organizations eligible to receive United Way funding.  And people want results; they want to help change lives forever.  The United Way has incorporated every one of these changes into how they conduct business, and people are noticing the positive difference."  

Campaign leaders are building community support during this second of a five-year effort by United Way to raise more than $300 million to achieve groundbreaking United 2020 community goals. The campaign focuses on changing lives by focusing on education, income and health.  Those goals include preparing 50% more students for success after high school, pulling 250,000 people out of poverty permanently and improving access to health care across the region.

"Giving to United Way means you're investing in meaningful and measurable results for the greater good of this community," said United Way Board Chair Debbie Taylor, Southwest Regional Director, Texas State Director, Citi Community Development.  "The Destination: Graduation initiative is just one example of how giving generously to United Way will ensure compelling change throughout the region, breaking destructive cycles of high-school dropouts, poverty and childhood obesity."

Launched in 2005, Destination: Graduation works to help students graduate from high school and pursue advanced education. It provides college preparation courses, promotes mentoring and helps create opportunities for parental involvement. Thanks in part to funding from AT&T, Destination: Graduation is expanding this year from five to eight high schools across North Texas, including West Mesquite High School.

During the kickoff, Taylor highlighted how United Way and AT&T are working together by introducing a United Way campaign public service announcement created and produced by Destination: Graduation students at West Mesquite High School.  The PSA will be broadcast on AT&T's U-verse.

Additional speakers at today's kickoff event included:

  • Jennifer Sampson, CEO, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
  • Brian Gallagher, CEO, United Way Worldwide spoke about United Way's efforts toward improving college readiness on the national level
  • West Mesquite High School Principal Keith Adams and Florencia Velasco Fortner, President and CEO of The Concilio moderated the student panel.

"Momentum is building as North Texas corporations, individuals and community partners rally behind United Way's efforts to address critical issues like education with long-term solutions," says United Way of Metropolitan Dallas CEO and President Jennifer Sampson.  "We invite people to give, advocate, and volunteer to change lives forever."

About United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
United Way is the largest non-governmental funder of programs to improve Education, Income and Health in Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and southern Denton counties. By breaking the cycles of dropouts, poverty and poor health for hundreds of thousands of people over the next ten years, United Way donors, volunteers and advocates will create long-term improvements throughout the region. To learn more, please visit UnitedWayDallas.org.

The mission of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our communities. Visit www.unitedwaydallas.org to learn more.

SOURCE United Way of Metropolitan Dallas