KINGSPORT - The newly named president of the United Way of Greater Kingsport said he would like to see the organization create an endowment fund this year, which could ultimately allow for 100 percent of donations to go to member agencies.
The United Way held its annual meeting Tuesday morning at First Baptist Church to review last year's financial information, recognize the organization's members and volunteers, and elect the 2007 board of directors.
Last year the United Way raised more than $3.5 million, easily exceeding its goal of $3.4 million. The United Way uses this money to support 27 member agencies and 39 programs, which serve around 30,000 people in the community.
"This organization, every year, exceeds the goal they set," Mayor Dennis Phillips said before the packed fellowship hall. "It takes the commitment of everyone in this room to make the United Way as successful as it is."
During Tuesday's meeting, outgoing President Jerry Greene passed the gavel on to incoming President Jim Harlan.
Greene called his time as president a "wonderful year" and said strategically he thinks the United Way moved forward in many key areas, including community initiatives.
"I think the future is very bright, and I think we have great leadership coming in," Greene said. "The tone in the community is outstanding, and the support remains very strong.
"I'll continue to be past president, and however they want to utilize me in the future I would be happy to continue to serve."
Harlan said he agreed to serve as president because to him, it is a joy to be involved in something that makes Kingsport a better place to live and work.
"I think at the beginning of each year everyone has their mind's eye of what they want to do to be successful, and at the end of the year you look back and feel like it's been a good year," Harlan said. "I can't think of anything more important than addressing the health and human services of this Kingsport community."
Harlan said one of his main goals for the coming year is for the United Way to create an endowment fund to eventually cover the overhead at the organization.
"It would be a way that folks can leave money to the United Way and as a result of that hopefully in the future, the interest from that fund goes to paying all of the administrative expenses and all the campaign expenses," Harlan said. "Then any dollar that someone gives to the campaign, 100 percent of it goes to meeting health and services needs with nothing for overhead.
"The first thing we've got to do this year is establish the fund and publicize it. That's a high nail for us this year."
The second item on Harlan's list is for the United Way to work with the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the city of Kingsport on creating a hub of health and human services at the V.O. Dobbins Center in connection with the HOPE VI project.
The HOPE VI project is being funded in part from an $11.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The project calls for replacing the 92 public housing units at Riverview with 28 to 32 houses and for 24 new houses to be built in the Sherwood/Hiwassee community.
"By doing that and creating this nonprofit center where several groups can come together, we think we can create a synergy that allows us to reduce our administrative costs again to provide one-stop shopping for a lot of services the folks in the community need," Harlan said.