Oak Ridge National Laboratory is already one of the United Way’s largest regional contributors, and officials said they hope to raise even more money this year.
“You’d be amazed at the difference that even $10 a week can make,” Hurtis Hodges, ORNL United Way campaign chairman said during a Thursday morning ceremony on the lab’s Main Street.
Tennessee Lady Vols Head Coach Holly Warlick helped ORNL kick off its annual United Way campaign with a short speech and free-throw competition.
Warlick, who took over for longtime coach Pat Summitt in April, urged a few hundred ORNL employees to give what they can to United Way.
“The United Way, for me, is a great investor,” said Warlick, a former guard and three-time All-American who played for Summitt and assisted her for 27 years.
Hodges said ORNL’s goal this year is to get at least one in five ORNL employees who don’t currently contribute to United Way to start doing so—while increasing the amount from existing donors.
“The sad fact is that there are people who need our help in ever greater numbers,” ORNL Director Thom Mason said.
Rick Morrow, United Way of Anderson County executive director, said ORNL typically raises close to $1 million for 18 United Ways in East Tennessee.
“They are one of the largest campaigns in the East Tennessee area, and they have a real track record of having a great success compared to other national labs,” Morrow said. “They are by far the largest United Way supporter of all the national labs in America.”
He said more than 50 percent of employees usually donate, and the lab also provides volunteer times for employees to contribute to local nonprofit organizations.
Morrow said ORNL’s drive is a “pace-setter campaign,” starting early and wrapping up in mid-September. The United Way of Anderson County is gearing up for its 2012 drive, which will kick off Aug. 25.
A campaign goal will be announced then, Morrow said.